"Paradise Lost is a very accomplished and inventive album that serves as a great cinematic journey, managing to effortlessly weave together so many different influences and drift in different directions, whilst maintaining a real sense of wonder and interest as to what is around the next corner. Like all good albums, this needs to be listened to in full and deserves repeated listens."
Loose Lips, Jake D. Archer
"The best, most exciting music’s will of course be those that push boundaries and reimagine the past in new shapes moulded into fresh forms. Inal Bilsel’s break taking new album falls headlong into those categories..."
Magazine Sixty, Greg Fenton
"Narration from Bilsel is mixed with his spellbinding compositions and sound design for a truly unique listening experience."
Pro Studio Masters, Editorial
"The album is like a finely embroidered tapestry whose melodic and atmospheric construction constantly pulls you towards imagining a vivid other world. [...] Inal succeeds in moulding a new sound out of the many genres that he has internalized over the years. In my opinion, the album heralds a new and powerful musical wind in the region’s musical corridors"
The nuclear war brought an uncharted business opportunity for the clandestine company Simex. Their simulated reality machines exploit the desire to escape the gloomy existence of the post-war. These highly addictive brain-mangling devices need pre-programmed tapes to work. In an unconscious altered state, each tape transports the user to a different “world”, sometimes even manufactured from memories. Although anyone can tamper with the contents of a tape, the original unaltered SimTapes - the most realistic of them all - are a lucky find.
Near the ruins of Fabulous Varosha -a post-apocalypse themed pre-war amusement park- a settler inadvertently acquires a SimTape from a traveling merchant. Theirs is a closed society, governed by an elder committee who insist the world beyond their settlement is inhospitable. At the heart of the community is their sole SimEX machine. The only form of entertainment around. Realising the significance of this new tape, the elders send him on a quest to search for its origins.
All clues point to a place called Memory Lane, a street full of tape shops. During his quest to find this elusive place he suffers from SimTape withdrawal symptoms. In a delusional state of mind, his perception of reality becomes a blur. Did he become a tapehead, experiencing a tailored simulation made from his fantasies? Or is he really the chosen one, destined to be the salvation of his people?
<please make yourself comfortable. Your experience is about to begin>
I can’t breathe!
and now I can’t see
What’s going on?
“What a splendid night, fine masked man”
Her voice is familiar. Dova? I can’t tell from her mask and I can’t seem to answer, even though I try. “It sure is, my dear. Have you seen the king yet?” Did I just say that? What king? Where am I? An elaborate oversized hall. huge chandeliers and a yellow tint to just about everything. Then, a sudden rush of realization: It’s a masked ball. But what is a masked ball? I feel nauseous.
I found myself next to a long table of foods and drinks. It’s too crowded and noisy in here. I’m not used to this. I feel terrible. “Here Anton, have a drink, aren’t you enjoying the night?” I can’t see who is calling out to me. Anton? I vaguely remember being called that name before. “The king will be here any minute, so is the music and dance, cheer up already!” I drank what he gave to me. I then had one more and then another one in quick succession. “Ah! That’s the spirit!”
My vision is blurring.
People dancing everywhere. The noise grew louder and It’s barely tolerable. I’m dancing too. When did that happen? <please align ta…> what? who said that? I turned around and saw Dova, or so I think. “You’re acting strange tonight, darling” She leaned closer to me “Haven’t you had your fix?” Strangely, I now remember her. We came to this party together. This was the party we’ve been waiting for a long time. The war kept the king busy lately and we hadn’t had one of these nights for a long time. That fix she told me about, is that why I’m feeling like this? “What on earth did I take?” I must have said the last part aloud “I think you overdid it, my clumsy husband!” Yes, we are married. I remember everything! But the masks still frighten me, I don’t like it. “Please wake up” she said in a sharp and determined tone. “What? What do you mean?” to which she answered in the exact same tone “Please wake up”. I don’t understand. The colors are changing. The lights, they’re all fading away. Darkness surrounded us, pitch dark. But I can still see her in her blue vandykes and two-tone mask. “Please wake up” she said once again. I turned around frantically to comprehend what was going on. Was this some kind of a sick joke? “Please wake up” the voice is exactly the same. Flashing blue lights. Something is happening. I open my eyes. Were they closed? <Please wake up> I’m lying inside… inside what? I’m lying inside AL. <Please wake up>
I hate this tape. I’m sick and tired of it. It’s broken and useless! But that’s my only one… My turn is over. So long AL.
[The above text is taken from Paradise Lost blog, which served to build the storyworld of the album before it was released. Read more here]
Crowdfunding Video Series
A New Analog Wind from Cyprus and Inal Bilsel
With his latest album, İnal Bilsel prepares to take music lovers on a journey to a very different, dream-like world. This young artist, who skillfully blends and hybridizes different musical genres in this album, takes us on an experimental musical adventure that is above/between genres. I am talking about a distinct, epic musical journey that is abstract enough to make it hard to fit into categories but at the same time can be palpably felt in the beats on which it is built. I think that the style İnal has created is that type of time-space hopping called an aberration, that within the music he is constantly calling attention to the search out of (beyond) time of a timeless/placeless discoverer. Throughout the album, even as İnal engages in a nostalgic archeology of that 1980’s cassette music burned into our memories, the music creates a post-apocalyptic atmosphere that leaves you confronted sometimes with “the Other,” other times with another form of belonging that is also a familiar “Thing.” This confrontation sometimes creates in the listener a strange feeling that we can call unheimlich, that is, frightening and strange but at the same time surprisingly familiar. When we look at its musicality, we see that long with the flow of this fantastic and intentionally ambivalent concept in the album, we also are in the presence of real musical mastery. İnal presents the listener with a one-hour musical feast in which, with exceptional skill, he shows us that the analog instruments from the 1970’s can be used even in complex arrangements; that an analog synthesizer can be turned into solo instruments such as a violin; and that even synthetic sounds can emerge as human(e) and sensuous. Along with his control of the instruments, İnal training in composition comes through in the sophisticated harmonic variations that he uses throughout the album. Another interesting facet of the work is that in an interesting way the music constantly encourages you to close your eyes. The album is like a finely embroidered tapestry whose melodic and atmospheric construction constantly pulls you towards imagining a vivid other world. In this work that transcends genres, İnal succeeds in moulding a new sound out of the many genres that he has internalized over the years. In my opinion, the album heralds a new and powerful musical wind in the region’s musical corridors.
Mete Hatay (2018, unpublished)
With Emre Yazgın, during the recording sessions at ReChord studios, Nicosia CY.
Uğur 'single take' Güçlü while recording the actual performance that ended up on the album.
Most of the lyrics were written in collaborator with Aycan Garip in only a few days. This video captures the moment we were done with the lyrics and were celebrating in our own way.
Composed and Produced by Inal Bilsel
Lyrics: Inal Bilsel and Aycan Garip (8, 10, 15, 17); Aycan Garip (5); Inal Bilsel (18)
Drums, Percussion, Rhodes and Bass guitar recorded at ReChord Studios, Nicosia (July-August 2016) Recording Engineer: Emre Yazgın; Recording assistants: Ahmet Güvenler and Şevket Çınar
Vocals (November-December 2016), Synths, and Guitars (February-July 2016) recorded at Inal’s home studio Additional Guitar recording at Emre Yazgın’s home studio.
Strings recorded at Can Studios, İstanbul (October 2016) Recording Engineer: Ünal Aşkın
String arrangements by Inal Bilsel
İstanbul Strings are Hüseyin Kemancı, Mert Kemancı, Yunus Uçar, Emir Kemancı ,Hasan Şavlı and Şenol Arkun.
Mixing Engineer: Emre Yazgın (ReChord Studios, Nicosia, Cyprus)
Sequencing and additional mixing: Inal Bilsel
Mastering Engineer: Bob Katz (Digital Domain, Florida, US)
Album cover art: Murat Zengi; Cover source photo: Ayhan Bilsel
LP art and design: Inal Bilsel
Booklet photos: Kerim Belet, Ayhan Bilsel (Cover source pohoto) Hatice Dörtlemez, and Duygu Göze Costume Design: Hatice Dörtlemez and Evrim Avcı
Sony Music Turkey
A&R: Ali Çetinkaya; Product & Marketing: Selin Ötün; Press & Promotion: Can Eltutar;
Special thanks to Şemsettin Göktaş
Dedicated to Huriye and Ayhan Bilsel, who, among many others, gave me a childhood to remember. And also, to the island that I’m so attached and yet feel so distant.
Love and thanks to my supporting wife Hatice Dörtlemez; to Nilay Bilsel and Ismail Safkan; to my engineer and friend Emre Yazgın; to wonderful musicians I’ve been lucky to have on board Uğur Güçlü, Ahmet Zilci, Ezgi Akgürgen, Fikri Karayel, Cahit Kutrafalı and Oytun Küskü; to the one and only Aycan Garip; to my greatest supporters, my dear friends Uğur Bahceci, Ürün Ekenoğlu, Balin Palmer, Rahme Veziroğlu, Naz Atun, Nurtane Karagil, Reşat Korel, Onur Kasapoğlu and Görkem Müniroğlu; to Tuğçe and Halil Koruoğlu whose encouragement have brought my music to live stage; to Murat Zengi, Evrim Avcı, Ivan Charalambous, Kerim Belet and Duygu Göze for lending me their talent; to my PR consultants, the fashion conscious duo Eralp (Van) Kortaç and Osman (Ozi) Enver; to Mete Hatay for his guidance and support; and finally, an immense thanks to my friend Buray Hoşsöz and to the wonderful people at Sony Music for believing in me and my music.