The Turkish word müstesna translates to “special” and “outstanding”, but also “uncharacteristic”, “singular” and “unusual”. It is with the latter sense that Müstesna Records has most affinity. In its sounds, personnel and identity politics, Ece Özel and Umut Kahya’s label is a home for outliers.
Whether releasing a compendium of work from “infamous” Istanbul trio Etnik Sentetik, Alper Maral and Mert Topel’s fiercely experimental Control Voltage Project album, or a charity compilation fervently supporting the rights of trans people in Turkey, the label’s output is a case in point. Özel and Kahya promote an oft discomfiting encounter with otherness with each and every record. In their world, to be “outstanding” means to stand outside oneself, to see and hear things from the other side.
So what makes the label’s latest release stand out? Possibly that it is such a seismic sonic shift for its author. Emre Can Swim‘s previous release on Artesian Sounds was more a lesson in easy listening than an exercise in nasty-but-nice electronics; Biz willingly provides the latter. The wistful waftings of his 2018 release are traded in for the chunky breaks and basslines of ‘Weltschmerz’, the horror-score atmosphere of ‘Sis’ and the corrosive electro groove of ‘Üçünçü Basamağın Sonsuz Küçüğü’. It seems Emre can let his proverbial freak flag fly on Müstesna’s team.
The Biz EP is out July 16th on Müstesna Records | Pre-order here