Sanr are a Turkish trio comprised of Altuğ Kaptan (FenGi) and Devrim Kınlı who provide the sound, and Semih Tokkuzun who creates the visuals. They have released a new album called ramak which is out now via Lost Tribe Sound.

According to the press release, it is a métissage, a sonic cross-breed so to speak. ‘Ramak’ was not synthesized, nor the product of intelligent design. It is more about multiplicities, encounters, fascinating coincidences, and simply absorbing the surroundings.

‘Ramak’ began taking shape during one uninterrupted recording session, where sanr made the most of a borrowed contrabass with only one string. They had only six hours with the embattled instrument and worked to make the most of it. As this session was the first and last time they ever saw the contrabass. This would become the only instrument used in the production of ‘Ramak.’

Knowing little to nothing of how to properly play the instrument became a strength for the group revealing unconventional roads for the sound to travel. After the session ended the collaging began in DAW. Layering blocks of unruly sound, sanr exposed a rudimentary puzzle of hollowed wood and tense steel.

Just as the phrase suggests in Turkish, ‘Ramak’ is never completely finished or formed. ‘Ramak’ means to be on the verge of something, a near miss, almost happening. For sanr, it represents roaming the borders between composure and improvisation, sanity and insanity, planning and coincidence, musicianship and experimentalism.

Listen below and check our chat with the band.

Let’s start from the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as a band?

Nice question… It is a bit difficult to keep our spirits high but we keep on struggling. In our region we encountered various kinds of crises for more than 5 years that made us begin living strange times sooner than the other parts of the world and in a way we gained immunity to chaos. To be specific about the sanr project, apart from living in different cities as a duo we do not encounter any other serious limitations.

You have announced the new album “Ramak”. What are the first vivid memories of this album and what was the main focus when you started to think about this album? It took shape during one uninterrupted recording session, right?

It is hard to recall the memories but we wanted to produce something solid and monolithic this time I guess. Our focus was on the lower frequencies and the body, the volume of a double-bass well served to our purpose. We arranged the recording environment accordingly and as you said all the takes were recorded in a single flux with some necessary interruptions. It is possible to hear the consistency of the sonic output. On the other hand this is the first album of sanr which concentrates on a single element intensely, in first 2 albums we worked with a wide range of recorded sounds while producing the album but this one is more like a concept album as all sounds come from one recording session.

What was the most challenging side of this album? And how did you “balance” borders between composure and improvisation?

Well, the challenge was to create maximum diversity and variety within any given set of situations as always. This time it was much more challenging because we limited ourselves with only one instrument and place. All the tracks were mainly improvised but of course we had a shadowy road map decided in advance. But this road map was not detailed. All the interesting and energetic moments came up on the spot. “Balance” is an important issue of course but for us, composition starts after we listen to the improvised takes generally. We decide on the parts/episodes we would like to use first. Then the manipulations and layering begins. One of the most challenging aspects was using independent improvisations together, there was no metronome or a tone so we spent time on making them to be heard like they are naturally together.

The Artwork is very interesting and powerful. How did you choose it? How important is the visual part for your works?

Thank you. It is a piece from the collection of Semih Tokkuzun. He is a close friend who has been interested in our music from the very beginning. He contributed to “Kesif” and “Girift” -our previous albums- also with his photographic work. For “Ramak” however he offered an oil on canvas mixed with a photo in the middle. We loved the composition at first sight. The visuals (album covers, videos etc.) are somewhat important because they offer the first eye-contact with the potential listeners on social media and music platforms. They inevitably create an effect , and give some opinion about the general mood of the tracks. Just like the names of each single track, the visuals and the album covers also help us to convey a feeling about our music.

How important are field recordings and manipulation for your music and your creative process?

Impossible to discriminate. Field recordings are our starting point. From the very early beginnings of the Sanr project. They provide the source material to work on and elaborate. A piece/track often shows its character in the first minutes of a field recording. Even if there will still be much to work on, we can sense that a given episode of a recording will evolve into a track quickly because of its potential. Manipulation is necessary to brighten up and put additional layers, additionally it makes it possible to reach sounds you don’t even imagine so it is like an x-factor or surprise element added to the layers. And also we like recording sounds of random objects we encounter and use them in every track we make, objects, machines or found sounds are important parts of our recorded library.

How would you like to introduce this album on the stage?

We have never performed live and for now we don’t have a plan about it. But when we do we want to improvise with various sets of sound sources to assure a unique experience for each show, trying different sets, sounds and ambiences.

You are from Turkey, right? I’m really interested in the connection between the places we live over the years, our roots and the art. How do you feel these themes connected to your music, your way of thinking about music? What are your favorite places which inspired you the most?

It is a really hard question, to answer it we need a theory on the intersection point of psychology, sociology and anthropology. We can clearly see that the effects we get here are much different than Europe or USA but it is impossible to measure the results of these effects in our music.

Experimental/Ambient music production is a virgin territory in our country. In our previous albums we used some traditional instruments but not in a “traditional sense”. We are not interested in creating a “local sound”, “regional colours” etc. But being grown up in this country possibly affects our way of approaching certain aspects of music, I don’t know.