Our next guest in our ‘Five of my Life‘ series comes from a versatile artist. Inal Bilsel is an award-winning composer of electronic, classical contemporary, film and experimental music. A mouth full. His music was played by the London Symphony Orchestra early last year and his LP Paradise Lost has been released on Epic Istanbul, a sub-label of Sony Music.
Connect with Inal Bilsel on Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram
A trip from the past
‘Five favourite tracks of all time’ is a tough one. I will list what I think had the most impact on me while I developed as a musician at a younger age. Some of the music on this list does not particularly reflect my current understanding and enjoyment of music.
Vangelis – Blade Runner Blues (From OST)
The list should start with Vangelis. I was introduced to his music at a very young age. I owned three of his albums as a child: Direct, The City and Antartica. For me, it all sounded very different from what I used to hear on the radio – and I despised radio. When I got a little older, I rediscovered his music through the video game for Blade Runner. There was a particular segment where you could go to your balcony at the apartment, and it was only there that a mesmerizing music would start to play.
The cyberpunk visuals, the dark city and towering buildings along with this music caught my imagination.
The cyberpunk visuals, the dark city and towering buildings along with this music caught my imagination. The combination of visuals and music appealed to me more than anything I’ve experienced before, and consequently, I discovered that my creative output has always been visually oriented.
Donald Fagen – Maxine
Maxine tells the story of a group of youngsters living in American suburbs in the 50’s, imagining the world beyond their little home. In my teenage years, living on a small island, I shared the same feelings. But beyond the lyrics and the story, this is a song that still resonates with me after all the years. I was, and probably still am, a fan of Steely Dan. Their witty humour including the particular subject matter of their lyrics and studio perfectionism all appealed to me. The music feels so familiar yet so unique at the same time. This duality is almost always what I aspire to achieve.
This duality of witty humour including the particular subject matter of lyrics and studio perfectionism is almost always what I aspire to achieve.
Stravinsky – Rite of Spring
I was exposed to classical music from my father from a very young age. But it was not until my university years, while studying music, that I discovered some of the more daring composers of the 20th century. My influences are diverse, and often they are not obvious in my music. As a naïve young student, it was this piece that I discovered that music need not be “pleasant” to be appealing or interesting. There is, as I discovered with this piece, rhythm, energy, form, structure, and texture to drive the music, not just harmonies. As a student of composition, I studied Rite of spring extensively. It has a special place for me.
Air – How Does it Make you feel?
It is not possible for me to choose a specific song from Air’s repertoire but this one captures what I like about Air the most. I am a big fan of Air, but I particularly like their experimental offerings, rather than their short pop-ish ones. I must say that it is because of them that I now own a vintage arp Solina and a Ms-20. When I was relatively new to producing electronic music, I discovered through their music that the gear you have defines your sound and the importance of sticking to a set of instruments to achieve a recognisable sound. I don’t know if this was their goal, but they are masters of it, and I feel I am yet to learn.
The gear you have and use defines your sound and the importance of sticking to a set of instruments to achieve a recognisable sound.
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells
This was the toughest choice, but here it goes. I must say that I now find his music to be repulsive, but I had to include Oldfield in this list for several reasons. I was in my teens when I discovered Tubular Bells by pure chance. It sounded completely different from what I heard before. I especially enjoyed the long episodic structure of the piece and how it kept evolving.
By twisting and bending genres into his own needs, seemingly with a complete disregard for the norms, he created something unique. This is an element I think I employ with my music also. He also performed on all of the instruments himself in this recording, layering and stacking track after track. That was an amazement for my younger self. Consequently, I tried to emulate it on my very first home recording attempts towards the end of my teen years. This is worth mentioning because it is because of these attempts that I got familiar with multi-track recording technologies which ultimately allowed me to produce my own music.
Other influences include Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Pink Floyd.
Inal Bilsel’s LP ‘Paradise Lost’ is out on Epic Istabul. Grab your copy »