Track-by-Track: Sinemis’s “Dua”

Sinemis is the new moniker from Circassian-Turkish producer Sine Buyuka, and her debut, Dua, is a wonder. Fusing disparate styles in surprising yet seamless ways and imbuing each passage with a wealth of emotion opens an immersive, transportive world. Buyuka channels the fraught unknown of experiencing and recovering from a life-threatening illness into every facet of Dua. It’s a moving, often intense listening experience that rewards repeated visits with an open heart. Dua is out now on Injazero.


Dua

“Dua” was one of the first tracks that I produced for this album. The title means prayer in Turkish, and it serves as an intro to the album. This album was a part of a difficult healing process, so the title track embodies that sentiment. It comprises of ney recordings, pads I created from ney recordings, choir sounds, and a heavy use of the granulator. It was something I have done a lot on this record, using the granulator in unusual ways, even for things that do not necessarily sound granulated. 

Elegy

This track was originally put together as a film score for a Music for Media school project I undertook at Guildhall. As the scenes changed, the mood changed from calm-ish and expectant to tense. There’s a brilliant sample by the Israeli artist Rani Dar and pads I made from the ney flute again. It’s a glitchy, mourning bird song with solemn chordal shifts featuring a bass drone put together on a vintage Roland Juno 60. I never thought this seminal instrument would feature in my music, as stylistically it inhabits a different world, but here we are…The wonderful KMRU is producing a remix for it, which I am really excited about.

Gazel

“Gazel” sees me experimenting with a vintage analog modular synth for the first time. One day at Guildhall, I was in one of the studios and started jamming on a Roland System 100m with no plan in mind. It was one of the most fun I have ever had in my entire life. After a while, I felt like recording an improvised take as I fell in love with the sound. Post-surgery, I decided to revisit that single take and ended up using it as the basis for “Gazel,” adorning it with ney recordings and ambient soundscapes.

I am looking forward to going back to school, which I had to defer for a year, and experimenting with this singular instrument more. The title refers to an almost died-out music custom in Turkey – an improvised form of highly emotional solo singing that is sometimes accompanied by the ney flute (or oud or tanbur…). I guess my voice is my synth here…

Flow

This track is a yearning to pause for a moment in time. It is meant as a soothing, healing ambient peace to quiet and calm my mind. It features field recordings and lots of ambient soundscapes. Again, there are ney pads, which you could or could not tell are there, due to their sonic treatment and sound design, along with choir pads…I recently heard this in the Atmos version at the studio of the incredible Air engineer Tom Bailey and had chills up and down my spine. Some tracks lend themselves well to spatial sound, and this is one of them. With pro headphones, immersive versions can be heard on Apple Music, Tidal, or Amazon.

Only Breath

This track is a dark drone, an ambient piece featuring the ney of acclaimed Turkish artist Omar Faruk Tekbilek, which is sporadically laid out across the track. It was meant as a breather from the more structural pieces in the album and will allow space for a ney improvisation on stage. Turkish artist Hüma Utku is on remix duties for this one – she is amazing, so I’m full of excitement about that. 

The Bazaar

The inspiration behind this track was Boards of Canada, to be honest. I listened to their track “An Eagle in Your Mind” and fell in love with it. I wanted to emulate a similar feel but make it my own. To me, “The Bazaar” is a loose soundtrack playing in my head when walking down the streets of Kadıköy with a thousand worries and finding myself in the middle of the neighborhood bazaar, suddenly hugged and comforted by the bustle of the city and the familiar chatter of the market. It was created with found sounds from Istanbul, samples, ney recordings, and an Arturia Modular V plug-in. Mabe Fratti produced an amazing remix on her cello for this track, which I can’t wait to share in January with everyone.

In the End

Normally I don’t use pre-made samples in my music, but because this album was put together when I was first bed-bound and then home-bound post-surgery away from my studio and all my gear with just a laptop, I found myself making use of them sparingly with heavy processing. I was unsure whether to include this track in the album because the ney recordings here largely come from a sample pack. Then I decided that I will, as I got attached to it and wanted to showcase the sounds emanating from this fascinating instrument, the star of this mini album. 


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