Released Date: Jan 24, 2020 Music: Emre Dündar, Mehmet Ali Uzunselvi

BORATAV PROJECT: Emre Dündar-Mehmet Ali Uzunselvi

Boratav Project is a collaboration that was formed by two composer-pianists, Emre Dundar and Mehmet Ali Uzunselvi, in 2007, for the purpose of showcasing improvisation performances together, individually, or with participation of different artists within an expandable framework, and creating electro-acoustic structures usingmaterials mostly obtained from the recordings of these performances.Boratav Project takes its name from the famous folk literature researcher, Pertev NailiBoratav. Boratav, who has compiled more than two thousand tales and established theplace of ‘story-telling/making up’ in the narrative tradition with his in depth analyses, is a very valuable name for Turkish cultural history. The name of the project is both a reverent dedication, and reference to the relationship between the researcher’s special interest in the act of improvisation in narrative traditions and the new areas pointed out by Dundar and Uzunselvi.


All the pieces in this album are a result of evaluating fragments written and recorded individually by the composers or prerecorded improvisations as electro-acoustic composition materials. Some pieces were created by combining small bits of materialswritten at different times, others by adding different elements to musical structures that were created in a single stroke.A shared inclination of both composers was to bring together acoustic phenomena obtained at different times, at different places, from different tools or instruments, as if they were all together in the same place, at the same time, thus were related to each other all along. This inclination caused the pieces to sound like works of chamber music, performed and recorded in a single place and in the same period of time. Almost all of the recorded materials went through some electronical process of alteration, their original structures were transformed to fit into the musical chemistry they were to be a part of. During all these processes, each one of the acoustic materials was imagined and designed as a ‘talking entity’ by the composers, this imagination was a determining principal foundation in forming the compositions. Imagining our materials as different ‘talking entities’, naturally brought us to the best place in which they would be able to present their own existence in time: the theatre stage and consequently ‘drama’. Therefore, in the formal organization of most of the pieces the ‘modus operandi’ of drama was a guiding force, as well as the musical forms.
In the 19th century Europe, all kinds of information, publications, and events on esotericism and primarily occultism used to garner a lot of interest. Books written on subjects such as secret teachings, magic, clairvoyance, and fortunetelling used to reach respectable numbers in sales. Associations, clubs, and ‘secret organizations’ dedicated to these kinds of performances were really popular. These kinds of groups were founded and lead by rather interesting personalities with their own teachings andmethods, who had convinced their members that they have supernatural powers. Names such as Gurdieff, Austin Osman Spare, who was also a talented painter, and Madame Blavatsky were mentioned by the European bourgeoisie with excitement, and they had quite a following. On the other hand, none of these people, or people like them, directly and openly said things like “I am a magician”. Maybe the only person who openly made this claim was one of the most interesting characters of that period, Franz Bardon.
‘Frabato’ is Bardon’s stage name. Bardon not only claimed that he was a master magician, but he also wrote detailed training manuals including daily exercises for wannabe magicians. Maybe the most interesting things in his teachings are ‘The Elementals’; creatures created by himself to help him with various tasks, which can beseen only by the magician himself.
An enslaved entity is destined to vanish upon completing the task given by its master. On the other hand, sometimes these entities can declare their independence. This causes considerable unpleasantness, especially for the magician who had summoned it- unless he is a master. Only a true master can keep these entities alive and reuse theminstead of creating a new one. Bardon, as you might guess, did not destroy his creatures, on the contrary, he used to turn them into faithful companions. One cannot help but remember Goya’s famous engraving “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”, which portrays owls flocking on a man who fell asleep on his desk. We have designed this piece as if we were scoring a scene from a film about this magician, where the magician and his enslaved creatures are having a conversation. Therefore, ‘Frabato’ has become the score of a nonexistent film, so to speak.
‘Frabato’ found his place in our minds as a symbol/portrait with his methodical presentation of his imagination, or rather his insanity, story of his strange and sad life mostly lived in prisons and concentration camps, and his incredibly rich fantasy world. Thus, we have found it suitable to seal this album with the image of a ‘magician’ as a whole and named it ‘Frabato’.
Don Quixote in his library
There is an extraordinary engraving by Gustave Doré, in which he portrays Don Quixote in his library, at the brink of an unescapable madness. As you know, in Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote, with the influence of books about knights he collects and reads with passion in this library, is dragged into a different mental state and thinks that he is a knight that fights for the justice and the good. In this engraving, Don Quixote is raising his sword in one hand and loudly reading the book in the otherhand, and living his fantasy world, which was masterfully depicted by Doré around him. Don Quixote’s reading voice and tempo gave clues for establishing the framework of the musical form, and the imagery of his fantasies around him for creating different timbres and formal sections.
As the name suggests, the starting point for the Hui-Clos series was Sartre’s unforgettable play. Huis-Clos means behind closed doors. In short, this play, in whichthree people who find themselves locked in a room make life unbearable for each other in a very short period of time, is the source of the quotation “Hell is other people”. The plays dialogues, discourse, and form make it almost a musical score itself. The works in this series are built upon the special arithmetic of the interpersonal relationships in this play.

‘La mascherata degli impotenti’ is again the name of a play. This play is the third and most important part of Italian futurist poet Ruggero Vassari’s almost forgotten trilogy, and it is built around a character that is not exactly a robot but more of a machine-man. ‘Maschineangst’ is a work that is related to the sociocultural world of postwar Europe in the 1920s via metaphors. Today what draws attention more than the play itself is the costume design for the play drawn by Vera Idelson; in addition to being first examples of fantasies built around mechanized human image, these drawings have a modernist quality to them, which will be very popular later on. This work is created by mechanizing improvisations on a prepared piano and two keyboards layered with sampled and synthetic audio material via quantization processes.



Poltergeist means a ‘troublesome, noisy ghost’. This is very frightening creature in horror literature and cinema, but a relatively playful one in folk tales and folk literature. It is a creature that topples chairs or kitchenware in the house, squeaks the doors, thus uses sound as a tool for drawing attention or scaring people. The first Poltergeist was designed for recorder, prepared piano, and electronics, the second one was created by improvising on keyboards programmed using audio material obtained by recording various figures and sounds made using flexible pipes attached to saxophone mouthpieces.


‘Jansen’s Strandbeest’,

The piece was inspired by rhythmic behaviors of Theo Jansen’s wind powered kineticsculptures. Since it is the wind that starts, slows down and stops the motion, behavior of these sculptures generally starts with rhythmic consistency during a short attack period, followed by some sort of fractal development, and then they continue their motion with unpredictable rhythmic variations. It is possible to fit the modes of motion of these sculptures into a compositional plan by limiting some parameters, for instance the behavior of the wind, to some selected possibilities, on the other hand, something that would be more logical than such an effort would be to convert the constituent pieces of Jensen’s sculptures themselves into units that can create musical sounds, thus making them giant musical instruments. We have imagined such an instrument and established the structure of this piece in line with the image of that.


Solar Orientation
‘Solar Orientation’ is an architectural term that means taking into account the location, form and temporal changes into account while designing a structure in order to make maximum use of the sun. The piece was written for prepared piano and electronics. Processes such as light reaching an imaginary building, surrounding it, and then retreating to leave it in darkness were the data that determined the temporal path of the music.
Maenad’s Dance
The piece was inspired by authentic and deformed versions of traditional odd-time (asymmetrical) rhythms of Anatolian and Balkan folk music and it was designed as a musical structure upon which a one person dance choreography can be built. Maenad is the name of female followers of Dionysus, i.e. the wine, unbounded euphoria, refusal of public morals, and general unruliness. Ancient Greek word Maenad is among the etymological relatives of the word ‘mania’. Based on this information, the piece was built on the idea of describing behavioral models and motion sequences of aperson who can display a semblance of order only when they are dancing, in a musical form, using musical tools.