Kayıkçı’s interdiscplinary approach is also reflected in the visual assets that relate to her music. She creates these either completely on her own or in collaboration with friends and colleagues in visual design.
“I believe that, when listening to a song, we travel from space to space, and from time to time. When a melody touches you deeply, you can experience a place with your mind and your soul. So it is not only architects or engineers who can make a construction. Composers design an atmosphere with their musical instruments, transporting the listener to cities, gardens and landscapes.” Büşra Kayıkçı
In November 2019, Kayıkçı independently released the single ‘Doğum’ (Turkish for ‘Birth’), which was soon followed by her debut album ‘Eskizler’ (Turkish for ‘Sketches’), a collection of nine minimalist solo piano pieces. Among her subsequent digital singles were: ’Tuna’ (released in 2020), which was recorded on the Una Corda instrument built by piano maker David Klavins in Hungary; ‘Kuledibi No. 1’, created in collaboration with an Istanbul-based fashion brand and mainly inspired by the brand’s showroom, located in Istanbul’s emblematic Galata district, which for centuries has been home to people of numerous different identities, cultures and religions, and ‘Qarib’, which was included in the first Piano Day compilation, released in 2022 by Nils Frahm’s Leiter Verlag.
Büşra Kayıkçı on her piece ‘Doğum’:
“This piece is my first composition, which I wrote back in 2019. Until then, I had never thought of myself as a composer or, to be honest, ever even dreamed of it. After writing it, I felt that this song was the melody of a newborn child. A new me. That's why I named it ‘Birth’.”
One of Kayıkçı’s most significant interdisciplinary projects to date was a collaboration with the New York Theatre Ballet in 2020. Choreographer Melissa Toogood used her music for a piece of contemporary dance, performed by Monica Lima, which was praised by the New York Times.
Kayıkçı’s new digital EP ‘Eskizler/Sketches revisited’ marks her recording debut with Warner Classics. She has created new versions of five of her earliest works, music which has played a significant role in bringing her where she is today. Revisiting them and seeing them through today’s eyes, she is simultaneously looking back and looking forward.
Born and raised in Istanbul, Türkiye, Büşra Kayıkçı was introduced at an early age to artistic interests such as the piano, ballet and painting. As a young person she became fascinated with the work of classical and contemporary artists in a variety of fields. In 2011, having studied interior architecture and environmental design, and inspired by composers such as John Cage and Nils Frahm, she began to incorporate musical elements into her concept of design.
Over the years, Büşra Kayıkçı became increasingly convinced that a composer is in fact following the same path as a designer: the materials might be different, but the principles are basically the same. Using all the techniques she had acquired, she devoted herself increasingly to designing sound, drawing on influences from her everyday environment to create minimalist and modern classical compositions. In particular, she was attracted to the idea of creating new piano sounds through manipulating the instrument in different ways.
Büşra Kayıkçı on her piece ‘Yol’ (Turkish for ‘Path’):
“Being on the road is a very important and fundamental concept of Sufism. The repeated arpeggios in my left hand in this piece reminded me of a wheel that was constantly turning, and therefore of being on the road.”
“PLACES” | Hannah Schmidt
“In a way, as a composer, I design a place, and the audience walks around in it and moves within its architecture.”
Büşra Kayıkçı’s new album “Places” is a continuation and consolidation of her first compositional sketches and studies from 2019, which initially appeared on her debut album “Eskizler.” Kayıkçı’s approach at that time as well as on the present album is in some respects synesthetic – in other words, her idea of combining music and architecture goes far beyond purely interdisciplinary thinking.
In “Eskizler” Büşra Kayıkçı conceptualized her piano pieces like sketches – on the new album “Places” she goes one step further: “During our studies we were taught to write a story before drawing the first line,” she recalls. “What kind of place will it be? Who will reside there? How long will people reside there? We wrote detailed texts that guided us.” Now, four years after her debut, the composer is turning the method around and capturing places in music that inspire her. “The pieces were written during the covid lockdowns,” she says. “I was locked up – imagining myself in places I longed to be.”
For Kayıkçı, however, places are not just physical entities: a song like Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song,” which she references in “Tribute To Egyptian Song,” and human emotions and behaviors are just as palpable for her as spiritual buildings, the coast, and olive trees. “I love olive trees,” she says. “When I see even a single olive tree anywhere, I feel right at home.” She often tried to draw the trees, “but I was never satisfied with the result. With this piece, in other words with music, it was very easy. Its sound reminds me of the appearance of an olive tree and the feelings I associate with these trees.”
For Büşra Kayıkçı, spaces acquire meaning only when they are visited and animated, when people are in them. In this regard, for Kayıkçı, musical and architectural spaces have one particular aspect in common: they were designed and constructed by someone. While one exists physically, the other is bound in time – it develops its shape horizontally, as it were, while being played, while being heard.
The pieces on “Places” follow principles that Büşra Kayıkçı transferred from architecture to her compositional work: in order to design a space harmoniously, she learned to first select the colors, shapes and materials, and then to combine them with each other. Similarly, in her music she defines harmonies, melodies, themes and motifs, form and tonal material as modular set pieces in order to combine them, weigh them against each other, and bring them into balance. “I always compose at the piano,” Kayıkçı states. “And I only write down a piece when it is finished.” She did not even jot down individual ideas for the pieces on “Places” immediately, but waited to see what she would remember the next morning: “What is still left in my head then determines the way I can continue with the piece.” Unlike on “Eskizler,” Kayıkçı uses industrial sound designs and electronic inflections on “Places.”
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