When Ekin Fil moved from the centre of Istanbul to an island in the Sea of Marmara she found herself experiencing a very different kind of isolation. You get a sense of this on Maps, her whispered vocals find themselves alone in midst of a gentle whirl of ambient piano, organs and guitars.
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- Maps by Ekin Fil
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‘Maps’ marks Istanbul artist Ekin Fil’s fifth album for The Helen Scarsdale Agency and is quite possibly her most forlorn work to date. Her presence on this album haunts each track so delicately it's as though she were almost translucent. Her hushed words as if they were written on disintegrating parchment and barely distinguishable - brittle as decaying antique lace that would crumble into dust if you reached out and touched them. Her voice and gorgeous soundscapes feel as though they’ve been xeroxed multiple times and degraded, yet despite the slightly washed out feel to the record, its ultimate power is in its fragility. These are sad songs delivered so intimately that initially it almost feels as though we’re intruding on something that ought to remain private. However, there’s an alluring magic - a bleeding heart that invites us to share in its sadness. It’s an incredibly bittersweet and mysterious album - even without easily decipherable lyrics, her voice manages to convey so much. From the opening piano and the sounds of pouring rain we immediately get a sense of loneliness and isolation. The reverb and effects she uses almost sound like an attempt to reach out further to be heard, only to gently echo in an empty space. This is solitary music, best-consumed solo. There’s something about the more sparse moments and use of negative space that add a vulnerable quality, and yet there is strength and optimism to be found. ‘Away’ for example feels ever so sad and yet somehow uplifting - I guess we only feel sad because we know things can be better. This is deeply introspective, sombre drone pop at its finest. Highly recommended - as is every Ekin Fil record.
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