Acclaimed Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop outfit and JOVM mainstays Altin Gün — founder Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals, keys) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s repeated tour stops to Istanbul with a previous band, which led to a deep and abiding passion for ’60s and ’70s Turkish psych pop and folk, and fueled by music discoveries Verhlust couldn’t find in his native The Netherlands.
Verhlust wasn’t just content to listen to the sounds he loved as an ardent fan; he had a vision of where he could potentially take that sound. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admitted in press notes. “With all the instruments and effects that arrived then, it was an exciting time. Everything was new, and it still feels fresh. We’re not trying to copy it, but these are the sounds we like and we’re trying to make them our own.”
The Amsterdam-based JOVM mainstays’ sophomore album, 2020’s critically applauded, Grammy Award-nominated Gece helped to further establish their reputation for re-imagining traditional Turkish folk through the lens of modern psych rock and psych pop.
2021’s Yol, their third album, in three years, found the band continuing to draw from the rich and diverse traditions of Anatolian and Turkish folk but because of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of Altin Gün were forced to write in a completely new fashion for them: virtually — through the trading demos and ideas built around Omnichord, 808 and other elements, including field recordings and New Age-like ideas by email. “We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir explained in press notes. “The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”
The new songwriting approach, which featured arrangements built around Omnichord and 808s resulted in a bold, new sonic direction for the JOVM mainstays: sleek, synth-based retro-futuristic Europop with a dreamy quality, seemingly informed by an enforced period of uneasy reflection. Along with the change in sound and approach, Yol was the first album of the band’s growing catalog that saw them working with outside producers, Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album.
Just before the acclaimed JOVM mainstays went on an extensive North American tour, which included a two-night run Music Hall of Williamsburg last year, they shared the two-song digital single “Badu Sabah Olmadan”/”Cips Kola Kilit.” Both songs originally appeared in some fashion or another on the previous year’s Bandcamp-only album Âlem.
- “Badu Sabah Olmadon” may arguably be one of the harder rocking songs the Dutch JOVM mainstays have released in some time, featuring a relentless motorik groove, some scorching guitar work, glistening synths and yearning vocals. “‘Badİ Sabah Olmadan’ is a traditional love song from the town of Kırşehir, where the poet begs his lover to come to him before the night ends,” the band explains in press notes. “We recorded an electronic version for our charity album Âlem, and then started to play it live with the band. We liked it so much that we decided to record a live band version. Happy to play it for our fans this spring!”
- “Clips Kola Kilit” is a dance floor friendly, decidedly 80s synth bop centered around 808-like beats, glistening synth washes and wobbling bass synth paired with a coquettish and sultrily delivered spoken word/rap-like vocal. For those children of the 80s — like me — “Clips Kola Kilit” brings back memories of acts like Whodini, The Human League, Nu Shooz, Cherelle, and others. And interestingly enough, it sound as though it could have been on Yol but was cut from the album.
Slated for a March 10, 2023 release through ATO Records, Altin Gün’s highly-anticipated album, Aşk reportedly is a return to the ’70s Anatolian folk rock sound that characterized their first groundbreaking albums while capturing the urgency and power of their famously propulsive live show. Recorded using vintage equipment and techniques, the album’s ten songs feature visionary new interpretations and readings of traditional Turkish folk tunes, revealing how these old, beloved songs remain eternally resonant and ripe for constant reinterpretation.
“These songs have been covered so many times, always,” Altin Gün’s Merve Dasdemir says. ““But not really in psychedelic pop versions,” Jasper Verhulst adds. “It’s definitely connecting more with a live sound – almost like a live album. We, as a band, just going into a rehearsal space together and creating music together instead of demoing at home.”
Aşk will include the band’s dazzling reinvention of “Lelim Ley,” a classic song of lost love and exile, which features lyrics written by the late Turkish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist Sabahattin Ali (1907–1948), taken from Ali’s 1937 short story “Ses.” Lelim Ley” was joined by music composed by Livaneli and released in 1975. Since then, the song has been lovingly embraced as one of the most well-known and beloved songs among Turkish people across the world.
The forthcoming album’s latest single “Rakiya Su Katamam” is a kaleidoscopic, space rock/psych rock-like take on the folk standard composed by Turkish writer/theologian Mustafa Öztürk, featuring a relentless motorik groove paired with wah-wah pedaled guitar, Dasdemir’s plaintive yet sultry delivery, and a scorching guitar solo paired with the band’s unerring knack for razor sharp hooks.
Produced and directed by Sylvain Rusques and Simon Moreaux, the accompanying animated video features both line animation and collages of dancer Manon Colin dancing and running through two dimensional and three dimensional, kaleidoscopic realms. It’s fittingly mind-bending.