Keep an eye on Ahmet Sisman

By terry church

With one foot in Essen, Germany and the other in Istanbul, Ahmet Sisman [a] is a producer very much in between two worlds.

Like the music of fellow Istanbul producer Onur Ozer [a], Sisman’s music speaks much of interconnectivity, the clash between modernity and tradition, and the bridge between East and West.

And like Onur Ozer and many other producers from parts of the world not known for their contribution to electronic music, technology has given Ahmet Sisman the opportunity to carry the musical legacy of his country forwards in a post-modern way that can be felt by all who dance to it.

His music is globalisation for good.

Sisman playing live at Fuse club in Brussels

From the moment Sisman’s debut EP ‘Hiyan’ dropped on French/Belgian label Lessizmore [l] in March 2008, it was clear he was an artist peering through the prism from the other side.

With its exotic Arabesque influenced rhythms, Middle Eastern vocals and drifting instruments, ‘Hiyan’ reeked of smoky shisha cafes and tantalizing belly dance routines.

He quickly followed up with ‘Yagmur’ EP, which continued down the path of fascinating Arabic vocals and techno-infused drums, and then with his third release Sisman scored a breakthrough with ‘Buiya’ which became a mainstay in Sven Väth’s DJ sets at Cocoon in Ibiza throughout the whole summer – Väth ended up licensing it for his ‘Sound of the Ninth Season’ mix compilation.

Having proved that he wasn’t just a one hit wonder and that his sound was something that was only going to further develop and evolve, Sisman launched his own imprint called Slash Label with his friend Pherox in February.

The label’s first release ‘Saruka’ kicked the imprint off in an exciting and creative direction with two tracks that sounded entirely unique – ‘Candela’ brought sultry female vocals and groovy minimal house to the table, whilst lead track ‘Saruka’ was an eye-opening minimal tribal track centered around a bizarre male vocal chant and whistling.

Now comes Sisman’s ‘Esraj’ EP on Lessizmore, a three tracker of sublime organic drums, hypnotic rhythms and beautiful instrumental moments.

Sounding like a cross between an orchestral movement and a Turkish ballad, ‘Saire’ glows proudly. Contrastingly, ‘Esraj’ is a dark and glitchy tech house track offset by snippets of trance-like engagement.

Sisman also proves he is able to pull off driving uptempo tech house on ‘Uzak’, which stumbles forwards with the energy of an intoxicated African tribe party in full swing. Overall, the EP is an impressive continuation of a very unique sound.

What makes Ahmet Sisman stand out above all else though, is his consistency. Some may point out that the tribal African/Middle Eastern influence has been heavy in techno and house for years, but Sisman’s approach goes well beyond samples and gimmicky breakdowns.

The way his music is structured, and the way his rhythms evolve and grow in potency is very much intrinsic to the musical culture of the region where he was born. It’s pure.

I only hope that this is the beginning of a New World Order for techno, and Ahmet Sisman is merely the tip of the iceberg.

The proliferation of computers and the spread of electronic music culture is only going to grow, and influence will only get us so far. Heritage on the other hand, comes straight from the heart.