Ilhan Ersahin is an actor playing many roles. As the founder of Nublu, the Lower East Side institution, he is a musical curator, quietly guiding bands into formation and bringing them into the club's quarters; as the chief of Nublu's record label, he is a selector and producer, choosing records that represent the club's musical movements; and as a musician in five of Nublu's bands, Ilhan adds his own improvisations and creations into the fold of the ever-developing Nublu Sound.
While each project he is a part of reflects the diversity of such wide-ranging facets, Wax Poetic is the band that sums up the ever-changing guise of Ilhan Ersahin.
Ilhan started Wax Poetic in 1997. He invited musicians from many scenes to join him in weekly jams at the now-defunct club Save the Robots. Immediately the band took a novel stance: Robots was known for hosting cutting edge DJs and dance music from all over the world, and, despite the fact that most of the musicians in the band were jazz musicians, their playing aligned with the sounds emanating from the turntables.
Wax Poetic's first, self-titled album in 2000 clearly demonstrated Ilhan's far-flung influences, not only stylistically but also in terms of its personnel. From Norah Jones to Kurt Rosenwinkel, over thirty musicians contributed their talents to his grand plan.
2003's Nublu Sessions was Wax Poetic's next album. As the title suggests, it shows Ilhan and the cast of musicians he enlisted entrenched in a newly born Nublu. Where the first album saw more musicians contributing, this album spoke of a more concentrated scene that was developing around Ilhan and the club. A slickly dubbed out and techy element united all the songs on the album even with guests as diverse as U-Roy and Eddie Henderson.
That forward progression continues. Ilhan is now moving Wax Poetic even further into the future with three new projects — Wax Poetic Copenhagen, Wax Poetic Istanbul and Wax Poetic Brasil.
Each project places Ilhan in a different center of the world. Wax Poetic Brasil pairs Ilhan with Sao Paolo's seminal artist Otto; Bebel Gilberto, part of Brazilian music's royal family; and Mamelo Sound System, a Brazilian hip-hop crew. Wax Poetic Istanbul brings Ilhan to his father's homeland to paint his own picture of modern day Turkey — a street-art portrait that is vibrant and current, one that tosses the 'world music' misnomer on its head. Wax Poetic Copenhagen, the first album in the series, joins Ilhan with long-time recording partner Thor Madsen, renowned Swedish pop producer Klas Wikberg, and vocalist Marla Turner. Together they stir up the subdued energy of Northern Europe that sounds eerily congruous with the undercurrent of intensity in Nublu's hometown – New York City.
Ilhan Ersahin has a global perspective like no one else, gathering influences from all over the world and blending them together as if no borders existed. Since the beginning, Wax Poetic has been a perfect summation of these global impulses within New York and Nublu's localized scene. Now Wax Poetic Brasil, Wax Poetic Istanbul, and Wax Poetic Copenhagen take Ilhan beyond the diversity of New York to the ends of the earth, evincing him as the progenitor of a worldwide sound — the Nublu Sound.