Album released 5th October via Compost Records
Listen to ‘Wide (feat. Özgür Yılmaz)’
“Music that really does aim to be bigger than itself” The Fader
“Murky, moody and utterly engrossing” Crack
“Lovely Mystical Electronics!” Richard Dorfmeister (Tosca/Kruder & Dorfmeister)
Başak Günak, also known as Ah! Kosmos, is a sound designer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, born in Istanbul and based in Berlin. Her stunning second album, ‘Beautiful Swamp’, released 5th October via Compost Records, combines crackling percussions with melodic soundscapes, creating a wonder that she holds us in the middle of and with devastating effect.
Deep in the fabric of her music are fears, rapture, bliss, and anguish, capturing what she has processed and overcome in her life between Istanbul and Berlin. The listener not only explores textured soundscapes but multi-layered emotions, each layer drawing them further into the beautiful swamp. “Swamp as an image represents this album’s process. Sinking into the step that I’m taking and taking the next move from that sunken space. The ground was pulling me in and this slowly let me find my sensibility, softness, flexibility and also power”, says Başak.
In her debut album ‘Bastards’ (2015), Günak proved to be a border crossing producer, oscillating blissfully between avant-garde and post-rock. With ‘Beautiful Swamp’, written and recorded in Berlin and Istanbul in 2017, Ah! Kosmos continues challenging genre boundaries. Günak uses polyrhythms, electronic composition and found sounds to build a mystical world of modulation into which one can sink and be carried away,
Günak’s music is physical and carries graceful traces of clashes. The aptly named ‘Swamp’, perhaps also a primordial soup from which all things emerge and perhaps return to, is neither dark nor light but holds the potential for everything: beginnings, endings, growth, pain…“Wounds, dreams, disappointments, senses of belonging, moments of fragility, separation and absence were the starting point of this album. Then came my experience of how these feelings may transform into beauty and grace as I dived into them. ‘Beautiful Swamp’ became a home for this transition”, she says.
Ah! Kosmos primarily works alone but when Günak collaborates with others, the experience is even more affecting, as witnessed in the track ‘Beyond Dreams’ with jazz singer Elif Çağlar, or with guitarist Özgür Yılmaz on ‘Wide’. The album also features a poem entitled ‘In The Dark Woods’, written by Selen Ansen, one of the most important Turkish intellectuals of her generation.
When Günak performs live, the music reacts directly to the mood on the floor. At each of her performances, her soundscapes take on a new form.
Performing solo or accompanied by a guitarist, she has supported among others Sigur Rós and Jonny Greenwood’s Junun Project (Barbican Hall) and has performed at numerous festivals including Sónar Barcelona, Venice Electro Festival, Tokyo Electronic Music of Arts Festival, Prague Quadrennial and ARENA Theater Festival Nuremberg.
Outside of Ah! Cosmos, Günak composes for contemporary dance and theatre productions, short films and performances.
In the spring of 2018, she participated in the project ‘Sonár Calling GJ273B’, and sent her disembodied voice into space as part of a celebration and artistic and scientific experiment on what it means to be human and alien. Günak, along with 37 other musicians, sent music to GJ273B, a potentially habitable exoplanet, 12.4 light years from earth. You probably feel very connected to her sound, out there.