Y Bülbül is back on the controls accompanied by Yumurta, a percussionist from Istanbul. Pingipung introduced the London based artist in 2020 with his psychedelic, synth-laden debut “Fever”.
“Not One, Not Two” is based on a one-way transmission of improvised drum recordings from an industrial estate in Maslak, Istanbul to another one in Tottenham, London, where Y Bülbül laid down fragmented layers of bass, synths, guitars and field recordings over Yumurta’s singular drum takes. The result is a free-form deep listening album for fans of dub, ambient and kosmische music, where the groove and harmonies are mystically interwoven, yet somehow manage to stay on the brink of collapse. Although the sessions were non concurrent and scattered over two continents, the collaboration evokes scenes of a telepathic communion where individual perspectives, circumstances and stories are exchanged between the two.
Resembling Moondog, Holy Tongue or Luis Paniagua in the sense that they favor the raw over the polished, holistic presence over conceptual perfection and questions over answers, the duo’s focus on bare sounds and repetition guides the listener throughout the album. The ride cymbal opening the minimalistic “I’m This”, for instance, briskly disarms the listener who might have been looking for more traditional songwriting or production clues. There are plenty of immediately rewarding moments too in “Not One, Not Two,” like the organic acid bassline in “Maurin Quina”, the euphoric drum fills of “Big K” and the intoxicating groove of the hypnotic vibe-setter “Jah Oto”.
Bülbül is Turkish for a singing bird while Yumurta simply means egg. Which one is first? Who is to follow? It’s this enigmatic entanglement between the two artists which creates the lurking tension, emphasized by the Zen Kōan-like title. The beauty in this album is a peculiar one, and it certainly is a rabbit hole too. Dissonance is fluid as everything moves, and whenever two sounds collide, a third one emerges.