An interrogation of identity pervades every corner of Zeynep Ağcabay’s ‘Ancestral Ground’, the debut body of work under her birth name. As someone who has formed their practice creating soundscapes for high fashion labels and runway shows, this is an artist finally being given full carte blanche in creativity. Zeynep’s Turkish ancestry is present through all seven tracks. However, it is not simply a borrowing or a homage. Very much still connected both geographically and culturally with her ‘ancestral ground’, the sampled use of the Turkish ney flute is at once a gesture of respect to her father’s fostering of a musical upbringing and an inquisitive gaze into the timbrality of instruments operating within a wholly different embedded culture than those of the West.
A growing community of London-based artists with roots elsewhere are investigating what mixed identities can mean when translated into sonic offerings; Flora Yin-Wong, Nexcyia, Ewa Awe, aircode and Nkisi being just a handful. What perhaps sets Zeynep Ağcabay apart is the complex feelings of anguish towards a bureaucratic system which has been the hostile backdrop to their years living in London, unable to move freely around Europe and necessitating an implementation of skills in film and sound work to survive an overwhelmingly unlivable city. This is the dissonant shadow-self sibling to mea0u, Zeynep’s deconstructed pop moniker. The nine minute closing track ‘Ak Ana’ is a perfect representation of this shadow-self which succeeds in turning resentment into a euphoric tool.