On a Quest with Electric Treatment Free
The quest for music—it’s varied dimensions, numerous levels of adeptness, multi-variegated expressions and more—is a fascinating journey in which the seeker of truth, understanding, and creativity never knows where he or she may end up.
For Mark Uygur, who produces, composes, and performs as Electric Treatment Free, that journey began in earnest when, as an adolescent, he took up the guitar. “At the time I was listening to kind of standard rock like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and all that kind of stuff,” he recounted. “This one guitar teacher I had knew a lot about like, jazz and the history of jazz. He exposed me to Bebop. I really got into John Coltrane and Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus. He also really liked that sort of early ‘70’s fusion and bands that were kind of fusing rock and jazz together.”
More than just his chops on the stringed instrument, what Uygur really picked up from his pedagogue was a flair—and affinity—for coalescing a diversity of styles, tastes, textures, and sounds. Incorporating a sundry of stuff into his own music was natural for the producer (who grew up listening to an assortment of Baroque classical music and Turkish music courtesy of his parents), who took this motif to heart.
The result was his debut EP, Electric Treatment Free, and a passion for melding together a variety of sonic influences. “I’ve always kind of liked the idea of pulling together bits of music from different genres and seeing how you can fit them together even though they may seem really different from one another,” Uygur admitted. “And then also using samples and things like that can be extremely powerful artistically if you pick the right samples to go with your songs. I try to combine different genres of music with a lot of different sounds.”
Although his Extended Player’s been out for over a year, the artist is still actively promoting it. He relatively recently completed a music video for “fort smith” and is currently hard at work on another for “the brother of sleep”, which typifies his penchant for blending together an assortment of source material to cohere into a singular work.
“sleep” stands out on the collection in part because of its incorporation of a charming voicemail left from a young man to his dear old Ma, lamenting her lack of interest in writing him and his reaction to prolonged exposure to the sun. If these elements sound a little desultory when married to the frenetic sounding synths attending the tune, well, you haven’t considered the full scope of the concept.
“It’s kind of playing with the idea that people are mortal and you live for a very short period of time, and a lot of time people will focus on very trivial things in their life ,even though life is very short,” Uygur revealed. “The tune kind of plays with the contrast between this guy who’s robotically kind of talking to his mother, writing this letter about these semi-banal things. But then, the other half of the track is a part of [a] poem that touches on these deeper ideas about life and death and whatnot.”
Interestingly enough, the sonic sojourn Uygur embarked on with his guitar teacher has landed him in numerous formal education settings about aspects of music theory and composition. He frequently devises his tunes—both on his self-titled EP and on one planned for the forthcoming year—by composing them on software that then enables the computer to play the actual notes.
It’s a quirky combination that is in itself a work in progress, and likely will include live instrumentation sooner than later.
“For the next release I’ll probably do a lot more on the video side,” Uygur acknowledged. “I really like adding video to the music, so I’ll be working quite a bit on that. Eventually I’ll get some musicians, hopefully, to play some of my parts and actually I’d like to dust off my guitar too and play some more guitar parts in the tunes. The idea is the next release will have more of a combination of music being composed by a human, performed by a computer, and also performed by humans, too.”