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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Konstrukt + Keiji Haino - A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire (Live) (Karlrecords, 2018) ****½

By Gustav Lindqvist

What we’ve got here is Turkish free jazz tour de force group Konstrukt – who describe themselves with the statement: “free music, outer frequencies, cosmic chaos” – teaming up with the Japanese multi-instrumental musician Keiji Haino.

The studio session carrying the same name and released in 2017, and reviewed here, was recorded two days before this live public performance at Salon IKSV in Istanbul.

Should this be considered a companion disc, a sister to the studio session? It would be natural to bring thoughts together and try to find common ground, but I do not believe in common ground in general. In nurturing the interest of the uncommon, distorted and free, if you excuse me for using clichés – I’ve found that approaching new releases without constantly trying to compare and categorize, or sort if you will, is very rewarding – yes, it’s needed even. I’m not so sure I’m doing it well in writing, but I’ll try nevertheless.

66 year young Keiji Haino has a spectacular output behind him, at least over 100 albums, and is still very active. I can highly recommend googling for album guides on Haino. It’s a rewarding exercise. Konstrukt, celebrating 10 years of work, working with Peter Brötzmann, Joe McPhee and William Parker just to mention a few, is a phenomenon of their own. I bet many of us didn’t know who Korhan Futacı or Umut Çaglar was before 2008 or perhaps even after their first couple of releases. It’s difficult to describe their style, and for every release I get even more puzzled. It’s a treat each time the come out with a new album – since you never know what to expect. “Free music, outer frequencies, cosmic chaos” is their statement, and I think that really is the best way to label them.

So. Time to dive into the music. As mentioned this is a “live version” of the album from 2017 with the same title. Regardless of what we heard on that studio album, here we get two tracks, and both are split into 3 parts each. The first part of the first track is a dark journey through a ritual landscape in which distorted guitar riffs mixes with electronics, percussion and reeds. The intense carpet of sounds is anxiously dancing around the fire, worshipping the flames as they go higher and higher. The second part allows us to breath, traveling inwards. After an industrial scrapyard introduction, there’s a worrisome feeling lurking around the corner. Urgent reeds are calling but there’s an uncertainty surrounding the calls. Intensity builds up as percussion joins in to guide us onwards, but it doesn’t come falling down completely. Spooky voices accompany the close of the second part. Part three increases intensity again. A metallic beat builds up intensity alongside with a loop of bright distortion. As the beat propels the track forward Haino accompanies the electronics with an ever-increasing intensity of his guitar. It all comes to an inevitable stop and the audience, and me, can rest and reflect upon what we just experienced.

The second track has nervous reeds starting the first part echoing away into the distance. Guitar, percussion and electronics join in and throughout the 2 minutes we’re given a dark introduction to the second part which has calling voices again, asking, yearning for something? Haino’s telling us a story across grey skies with clouds quickly passing by. I’m waiting for everything to explode and send me to another dimension. Konstrukt and Haino seem to have mastered the ability to keep the listeners eagerly waiting for their next strike. But as I wander the streets of Vienna I find myself getting lost in their psychedelic world. Maybe that was their intention all along. Reeds come back in but is kept at a distance. Intensity suddenly climbs, and I stop walking to just listen. I get the feeling that I’m stuck inside an orb slowly rolling around. It doesn’t make me dizzy, but it forces me to focus. Impressive! Konstrukt and Haino has one more card to play before it’s over. The last and final part has flute like sounds, various percussion, a reverb guitar, electronics, reeds – all of it mixed into a very delicate track of 9 minutes. It is more organized yet it builds up intensity organically into waves of the organized and disorganized, yes even disillusions and as we move towards the end it’s all left out there. The cosmic chaos is truly delivered!

This concept of having many styles mixed into stand alone universes across 6 parts is brilliant. It forced me to really listen. Konstrukt and Haino are clearly working really hard to deliver and I’m sure the audience felt highly rewarded after the concert, as did I.

The musicians:
Korhan Futacı: alto & tenor saxophones, zurna, kaval, sipsi, instant loops, voice
Umut Çaglar: moog [micromoog], korg [x-911], gralla, bamboo flutes,
xylophones, percussion, tape echo, vermona [retroverb]
Berkan Tilavel: nord [drum2] electronic percussion, tef, cymbal
Erdem Göymen: drums, cymbals, percussion
Keiji Haino: electric guitar, percussion, voice, airsynths


Colin Green said...

There’s an article about the two albums on Bandcamp:

Both can be downloaded from Karlrecords’ Bandcamp site:

Just to be clear, although they were recorded two days apart with the same musicians and the two albums have the same title, this one is of new music with different track titles and is not a “live version” of the 2017 studio album.

Mr Saxobeat said...

Correct Colin - I could’ve made that more clear in the review :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link Colin Green, and a great review Gustav.