Over the past six years, since their first album,
Second Nature, won awards and accolades
from a fascinated Canadian and international audience,
the hands and hearts of Ozgu Ozman and Ozan Boz
have been dedicated to fashioning a new transmission
from the musical world they share as Minor Empire.
And so, a new suite of songs, Uprooted, arrives this month,
and it is a progression into new territories of elegant melody
drifting over crackling dramatic landscapes of electronic
pulsation. At the vanguard of Turkish-based music here in Canada, the duo has developed
a unique mutualism that melds charismatic singing with the dark crystalline architecture
of contemporary electro-funk. Uprooted launched on iTunes on October 26.
Central to the mood of the record is the theme of the disturbance of tranquility.
The unnatural effect of being uprooted, this particular distress of the heart is the focus
of the traditional songs that follow. In İki Keklik / Two Partridges, the dilemma of a
passion which searches for an eternal beyond is mirrored in the patient heartbeat of the
rhythm, while the melody explores blue-tinted questions of security and sincerity.
And in Ağ Elime Mor Kınalar Yaktılar / They Put Henna in My Young Hands,
the innocence of love is cut off by the hierarchies of tradition.
Chambers of reverberating guitar, odd meters and quizzical electronic effects distort
the simplicity of the melancholy narrator, and attempt to subvert her resolution,
until, after a meditative acoustic kanun passage, she rallies with a hope for a better
chance at fulfillment.
Bahar / Spring, with a brief prelude of galvanized guitar drone entitled Seeds, brings a tidal
rush of optimism at the midpoint of the album’s arc, which travels a path through stages of
longing, questing for love, peace, and reunion. At each new bridge, Ozgu’s melody floats,
restless but steadfastly expanding, over the turbulence of the relentless orchestration that
surges and swirls beneath. Then the light of the sun, in Güneş Türküsü / Sun’s Song
irradiates the listener with the rays of a sixties rock ballad. A slippery instrumental passage
takes chromatic risks but ultimately delivers the vocalist to a new height of confidence.
The imperial tone of the intro to Green Handkerchief and reversion to a melodic minor key
reprises the inevitable interference pattern that returns again to supplant the growth that
the singer has been nurturing with complications.
İstanbul’dan Üsküdar’a Yol Gider / Road From Istanbul to Uskudar begins the pilgrimage
through a harsh landscape of fragmented emotions that wander from horror to helplessness
as the world becomes too real and still more confusing to the spirit. A tone of lamentation
then overcomes our troubadour as she casts her thoughts homeward over alternately
sparkling and apocalyptic guitar in Selanik Türküsü / Song of Thessaloniki and towards
an attempt to balance resistance with an acceptance of destiny in the languid lyrics of
Uyuttum Atları / I Put Horses to Sleep:
At the end of this cycle, there is only one destination left, as
Tutam Yar Elinden / Wish I Could Hold Your Hand,
resolves in the intuited peace that welcomes her beyond the confines of memory and
earthly strife. Her voice fades into the ascending guitar and rises on waves of clattering
drums into a new space, with, hopefully, roses and peace and a decisive final clarity.