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MAYa & Tolga Baklacioglu - Kına

Those lucky enough may have came across some of MAYa's earlier releases and accompanying videos. MAYa was once a member of Backworld, and some of her earlier releases were produced by Joe Budenholzer, but her own solo releases of sensual pastoral electronics are very different to the dark folk of Backworld. MAYa is English and lives in New York, works in film and has brought a strong visual element to her work, as can be seen in the films accompanying her 4 EPs two released physically and two as videos.

Tolga Baklacioglu is an electronic musician who operates the Turkish based VENT label, releasing a number of releases filled with minimalist techno and industrialised beats and atmospheres. Tolga is open to working with others and a previous collaborative album Your Secret Face with Russian vocalist Dee Grinski was industrial and noise based. Kına came about after Tolga stumbled across her videos and contacted MAYa about working together. Files of beats and ambience were passed between the two, disassembling, adding, subtracting and rearranging and passed back until each track was complete. The results are found on Kına which places MAYa's vocals that cover a wide range of expression from half sung, half spoken to murmurs to sensual joy over beats that absorb elements of industrial and techno, and although ever changing, they generally opt for pumping, hammering, incessant rhythms with little concession to melody. Other tracks dispense with the beats for more atmospheric excursions. On Kına their disparate approaches combine to great effect with some surprising results.

'Ask Me' opens to the unadorned plaintive voice of MAYa, spoken, and layered, before Tolga Baklacioglu's beats kick in, pounding and stuttering with synth squiggles and quickened hi-hat rhythms. It pounds incessantly, adopting gritty distortion and techno rhythms while MAYa's voice rises from a whisper to a more assertive stance with its continual questioning. There's a distinct contrast between MAYa's calm vocal outpourings and the volatile and almost panic stricken beats. On the flip side of the first disc, 'You Border Me In' is almost wordless, at times, with MAYa's voice reduced to breathless pants and sensual moans as it bustles to a series of erratic hammering rhythms before giving way to pumping sequences (of the electronic variety). It's erratic and erotic as sexualised murmurings drift into layerings of chopped-up whispers ruminating on the American dream and the decline of the empire. Somewhere in the midst of this is commentary on the current political scene, but at times MAYa's tones are so laid back the intent, like Leslie Winer with whom she definitely shares an affinity, is disarming. In spite of the constant and continually evolving rhythmic disarray lets loose along with sound shudders and distorted textures 'You Border Me In' feels somewhat like a feverish erotic dream.

The second disc is much more diverse, exploring other musical areas far removed from the aforementioned techno industrialised rhythms of the first disc. The gentle melodic keys, shadowed by electronic whirs, shroud the soft whispered murmurs of 'Now Your Gone', swelling into pipe drones and percussive taps as MAYa's voice segues into a layered vocal rendition of 'Lord of the Dance', amidst flighty and flickering shimmering electronics. Lulling back into gentle lolling melodic keys her pure voice, frail, exposed and folky reminisces of a lost love meditating on domestic situations, transforming the mundane into magical realms. Quietly beautiful and closer to the experimental folk of Pefkin or Pantaleimon, it exposes a beguiling facet to this collaborative release. MAYa's voice is low, cool and measured so it's not surprising that when her folky tones are draped over droning harmonium 'Kına' immediately sinks into Nico territory for a while at least. Unwinding with hushed cooing embracing textural and electronic embellishments with a tinkering rhythmic pulse which adopts a hoof-like rhythm both of these tracks offer up the more atmospheric and fragile moments of Kına, clearly illustrating MAYa's musical influence and input on this release.

The final side contains three shorter tracks ranging from the incessant hammering beat and looped vocal of "stop" of 'Home' and the clinical industrialised rhythms and shuffling electronics of 'Temperatures Rises'. On the former MAYa yearns of a place where she can be alone, while a sense of sensuality returns on 'Temperatures Rises', where curt vocal shivers cavort amidst beat ridden patterns as she beckons you to touch her skin. The final piece, 'Jyoti', is atmospheric and haunting, where MAYa's voice takes on a more ethereal form its wistful whispers wafting over a wavering drone, while another spoken layer recounts a tale about a body found strewn at the side of road. The whole thing shivering with breathless intonations to gliding electronic sequences.

It's a beautiful looking item with a striking cover image. Bridging Tolga's industrial and techno infused rhythms with MAYa's more evocative atmospheric work and her vocals pitched somewhere between Nico and Leslie Winer, Kına is something of a slow burner but it reveals itself as a wonderful distillation of their disparate approaches where MAYa's effortlessly cool vocals and delivery are energised by Tolga's relentless beats and abstract textures. Kına forged an unmissable connection between these musicians, one based in America and the other in Turkey, now let it connect with you. Kına is released on double 12-inch vinyl by Vent Records. For more information go to VENT or MAYa