Hüseyin Evirgen’s latest under the Magna Pia name sports a title that’s believed to be of Sumerian origin. Daiauna is a reference to “having power over fertility” according to the album’s notes. The Greek word for demon or minor deity – daimōn – is one of its derivatives.
This seven-track dark-ambient album begins with a ritualistic drum beat, a reference to the fourth century Sumerian period that provides the disc’s title. From there it explores “the strong connection between ancient religious practices and sexuality, fertility and nature in former times.”
Thankfully, Evirgen has delivered an album free of moaning women or any of the other clichés you might expect given its subject matter. (That includes the aforementioned drum beat, which is tastefully done.)
While its subject matter is interesting, it’s not essential to our appreciation of Daiauna. There are moments of richly dark electronics, stylish electroacoustics and genuinely tender performances that stand up no matter your interest in the ancient art of pitching woo.
This is all the more impressive given Evirgen’s reputation for more beat-oriented electronic music. The composer, producer and DJ is also half of techno club-favourite Cassegrain.
Evirgen is something special though. Techno artists don’t often come out of classical music training. Evirgen received his at the University of Istanbul and Mozarteum Salzburg. His compositions have been featured in theatre, dance and mixed media productions.
Part of what makes the project a departure is his decision to feature acoustic piano. It lifts the work, and serves as a compelling contrast to the album’s electronics. Daiauna’s highlight is the remarkably tender “Inanna.” It is among the best pieces we’ve heard this year.