Cevdet Erek is an Istanbul-born artist and drummer. In 1989 he was one of the founders of the lauded four-piece experimental band, Nekropsi, whose eclectic style has run the gamut from thrash metal to noise to psychedelic to electronic.
Erek studied architecture in Istanbul before studying sound engineering and design. While Nekropsi provided an early musical platform for his innovations in percussion, his solo explorations of sound and architecture have most frequently appeared in his work as a conceptual artist. Erek was an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam from 2005 to 2006. He participated in dOCUMENTA13 with his installation “Raum der Rhythmen/Room of Rhythms”, which was also presented at Rome’s MAXXI in 2014, the Istanbul Biennial in 2015, and the Sydney Biennial in 2016. His study, “Courtyard Ornamentation”, was shown at the Sharjah and Marrakech Biennials in 2013 and 2014, respectively; his series “Rulers and Rhythm” appeared at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the 12th Istanbul Biennial, and the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane. This past summer (2017), he represented Turkey at the Venice Biennale with “ÇIN”, an architectural intervention with sound. In his installations, Erek creates site-specific immersive environments that challenge perceptions of space and time.
Erek’s first full-length Davul LP, which appeared in June of 2017 on Subtext Recordings, is comprised of excerpts from hours of improvisation recorded over two days in Berlin. On it, he plays the davul, a drum common in regions from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, that was given to him by a Roma musician when he was playing in a Balkan music band. Over years of experimentation, Erek has developed an idiosyncratic performance method that expands the textural profile of the drum’s sound: he tunes it lower than is accustomed and uses a large soft mallet in addition to other objects to beat and distort the skin. Although the davul is traditionally used in festive contexts like weddings, Erek extends the expressive reach of the instrument to the dark and meditative through experimentation with colour, rhythm, meter, and silence.