«Mountains Are Mountains» is the debut solo album of Turkish drummer-percussionist-producer Berke Can Özcan, known from his former band, the Turkish avant-jazz Konstrukt and its many collaborations with innovative improvisers such as Peter Brötzmann, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Akira Sakata & Keiji Haino. Can Özcan describes this album as an introspective journey that revitalizes his art and life after a personal crisis – «crushed by life, his country». The album was born during his travels where he collected «many moments scattered all over a period of his time» and «sounds from oceans, forests, cities, trains, water tanks, birds, winds, corridors, swamps, street musicians, kids, church bells, temples, and alleyways».
The new «Mountains Are Mountains» solo chapter of Can Özcan reflects on the recent events that led him to change his artistic habits and explore new musical vocabulary, syntax and dynamics. The tone of the album is serene and melancholic, light and ethereal, peaceful and innocent. Can Özcan hardly plays the drum-set or uses familiar rhythmic patterns. He opts for soft and gentle textures that employ gongs, aquadrums, vibes, prepared piano, kalimba and many self-made instruments, all are serving his effort to reach «a personal kind of harmony». The assorted sounds were edited and reconstructed, suggesting a very emotional and highly personal circular universe of resonating loops, samples from close and distant places, vintage instruments and old recording machines.
This is a journey with strong meditative qualities. The manipulated, processed sounds become richer, nuanced and patiently reveal their elusive secrets and form imaginary sonic summits. Or as Can Özcan summarizes this journey: «It would be a blast if one could jump from one mountain peak to another. Still, maybe one can, if one closes his eyes and stays still. For long enough. Maybe then the mountains come to him, and they offer their summits just for him to accept».
Berke Can Özcan (gongs, aquadrums, vibraphone, steel drum, prep. p, harm, log dr, kalimbas, self-made instruments, toys, Buddhist-prayer playing machines)