Elif Yalvaç

Adventure-seeking field recordist

photo: Michael Bearpark

Who they?

Elif Yalvaç is a Turkish sound artist who works primarily with field recordings. With a masters in Sonic Arts from Istanbul Technical University and a BA in Translation and Interpretation, Yalvaç has put both courses to use while performing  and collaborating with artists from across the globe.

Why Elif Yalvaç? 

Following her 2018 debut album, ‘L’appel du Vide’, her second outing, ‘Mountains Become Stepping Stones’, is inspired by a challenging trip to Nordic countries, in particular Iceland and Norway, in September 2019. As suggested by the hopeful title, it documents Yalvaç’s search for meaning in nature. ‘Under The Aurora 1’ recalls her cycling home at midnight under a sky brimming with green. ‘Painted In Pitch Black’ is an ode to the feeling of ravens soaring above, while ‘Black Sand Beach’ combines field recordings, electric guitar and the sound of her breathing to re-imagine volcanic eruptions overlooking the North Atlantic. ‘Mountains Become…’ draws upon an entire ecosystem of sounds, from squawking seagulls, warm Game Boy micro sounds, discombobulating synths, Robin Guthrie-esque electric guitars, and is like weathering a great storm with an ear to the tranquillity that might follow. 

Tell us more…

Growing up in Central Anatolia, Yalvaç’s father used to bring home cassettes of Beck and Pink Floyd from the city, but records weren’t the only influence on her. Her 2019 masters thesis in Sonic Arts explores chiptune with plenty of intriguing first-hand accounts. It’s available to read online if you fancy it, and describes how important games were for educating her ear as a child, hearing these strange melodies made on a computer. Listen to her latest album, and you quickly realise this non-traditional music education has been the making of Elif Yalvaç.

‘Mountains Become Stepping Stones’ is  out on NNA Tapes

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