Ecce homo, “behold the man”, are the words spoken by Pontius Pilate as he presented a bound and crowned Jesus Christ to the angry masses before the Crucifixion. It has been referenced throughout history by painters, writers, poets, and philosophers. I owned a copy of the work by Nietzsche, a first printing from 1908 with decorations by Henry van de Velde, so you could say Ecce homo and I have some history.
Turkish electronic music composer and sound artist Ipek Gorgun takes on this weighty theme in her new album for Touch.
From the label:
Ecce Homo explores the lighter and darker shades of the human psyche, behaviour and existence, and humanity’s ability to create beauty and destruction. What lies in the essence of such complexity has become a core idea for the album, while Gorgun seeks to figure out if there is a true meaning to being human, and human being.
Sound art makes sense to me as the music contained in Ecce Homo is cinematic in scale, richly textured, and chiaroscuro-like in its handling of light and dark. As such, there’s great beauty to be found here, both super-micro and mega-macro, coupled with real horror. On “Bohemian Grove”, Gorgun samples the dangerously unbalanced fearmongering self-serving preacher-of-hate Alex Jones, allowing his words to set off a cacophony of madness. I don’t know about you, but I need artists to take up the good cause and Gorgun does so deftly.
This is a record that takes repeated plays to take in—the sound-world Gorgun creates is as rich, dense, lovely, light and dark just as, you know, life. Highly recommended.