Tag: Istanbul Turkey

Groovemonk is an Istanbul-based electronic music, who has developed a sound influenced by his love of ’90s club music, rave and breakbeat sounds, jazz, disco, hip-hop, funk, soul and traditional genres. The Turkish producer’s latest single “In Silico” derives its name from a scientific term that describes biological experiments carried out entirely by computer simulation.

Interestingly, “In Silico” is a glitchy and feverish collage of constantly morphing sonic ideas held together by tweeter and woofer rocking beats, euphoric hooks and a relentless energy that twists and turns and morphs constantly, which makes it feel off-kilter and angular yet somehow accessible and club friendly reminiscent of old school house. It’s the rare track that manages to be danceable yet mind-bending.

Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act and JOVM mainstays Altin Gün — founding member founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s repeated tour stops to Istanbul with a previous band and a deep and abiding passion for ’60s and ’70s Turkish psych pop and folk, fueled by music discoveries Verhulst couldn’t find in his native Holland.

But as the story goes, Verhulst wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan, he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “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.”

Altin Gün’s sophomore album, last year’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece further established the band’s reputation for re-imagining traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that the Dutch JOVM mainstays’ highly-anticipated, soon-to-be released third album Yol will be teh third album from the band in three years. And much like its predecessors, the album continues their long-held reputation for drawing from the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk. But because of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of Altin Gün were forced to write music in a new way for them: virtually — through trading demos and ideas built around Omnichord808 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 says 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.” As a result of the new approach, which featured Ommichord and 808 driven arrangements, the album finds the band crafting material that’s a bold, new sonic direction: sleek, synth-based, retro-futuristic Europop with a dreamy quality, seemingly informed by the enforced period of reflection. Additionally, the album finds the Dutch act working with Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders. 

I’ve written about two of Yol‘s released singles:

  • Ordunun Dereleri,” a mesmerizing re-imagining of an old folk standard and a fitting example of the act’s new sound: glistening synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor and motorik groove. While the song finds the acclaimed Dutch act taking their sound to the dance floor, there’s an underlying brooding and dreamy introspection to the song.
  • Yüce Dağ Başında,” a coquettish, dance floor friendly strut featuring Nile Rodgers-like guitar, glistening synths, a sinuous bass line, bursts of mellotron, copious cowbell and percussive polyrhythm centered around lead vocals from frontwoman Merve Dasdemir. Sonically, the infectious new single — to my ears, at least — reminds me of Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “I’m In Love” and “Love Come Down,” and Patrice Rushen‘s “Forget Me Nots.

Yol’s third and latest single “Kara Toprak” is a sleek reworking of a classic folk song by Turkey’s legendary and beloved, blind poet and musician Âşık Veysel featuring wah wah-pedaled funk guitar, sinuous disco-influenced bass lines, shimmering and atmospheric synth arpeggios, copious amount of cowbell service as a lush bed over which Merve Dasdemir’s gorgeous and sultry lead vocals, ethereally float over. Much like its predecessors, the song is swooning and coquettish seduction — a gentle tug of the sleeve from a new, potential lover/a new situationship that says “Come on, let’s dance already! Show me what you’ve got!”

Interestingly enough, the song’s title translates into English as “black soil” and the song is about life’s transience and the inevitability of death. And as a result, the Altin Gün take manages to be sensual and rapturous. And in a world, in which every one of our actions is seemingly imbued with death, it’s a hauntingly gorgeous reminder of the fact that our mortality is inescapable.

Yol is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through ATO Records/Cadence Music Group.

Live Footage: Amsterdam’s Altin Gün Performs “Ordunun Dereleri”

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s deep and abiding passion for 60s and 70s Turkish psych pop and folk and to frequent tour stops in Istanbul with a previous band.

As a result of his tour stops in Istanbul, Verhulst wound up discovering a lot of music that wasn’t readily available in his homeland. But as the story goes, he wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan, he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “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 Dutch act actively interpret and reimagine this beloved material through a contemporary 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,‘” Verhulst explains.

The act’s sophomore album, last year’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece helped the Amsterdam-based act win further worldwide acclaim for their reimagining of traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. The band’s highly-anticipated third album Yol, the third album from the Dutch act in three years, finds the act continuing to draw upon the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk music. But as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of the Dutch act was forced to write music in a new way: they traded 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 says 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.”

As a result of arrangements featuring Omnichord and 808 — and the new songwriting approach, the album finds the band crafting material that’s a bold, new sonic direction: a sleek, synth-based Europop sound with a dreamy quality that may have been informed by the enforced period of reflection. Additionally, Yol finds the members of Altin Gün enlisting Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders.

“Ordunun Dereleri,” Yol‘s mesmerizing first single finds the Dutch act pairing an old folk standard with an arrangement centered around atmospheric and glistening synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor drumming paired with Mediterranean-like polyrhythmic percussion, shimmering bursts of guitar, a sinuous, motorik groove and plaintive vocals. And while, being a sleek and futuristic push in a new sonic direction, the track finds the band balancing careful and deliberate attention to craft with a dreamy introspection.

The members of Altin Gün filmed a livestream concert for Dekmantel Connects that will air December 17, 2020 at 8:00PM Central European Time/2:00PM Eastern Standard Time/1:00PM Central Standard/12:00PM Mountain Standard Time and 11:00AM Pacific Standard Time. The livestream will feature a sneak peek at the band’s forthcoming album, including this gorgeously shot live footage of the aforementioned “Ordunun Dereleri” filmed in what looks like an abandoned factory.

Yol is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through ATO Records/Cadence Music Group.

New Video: Amsterdam’s Altin Gün Releases a Cinematic and Feverish Visual for “Ordunun Dereleri”

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase for “Golden Day,” the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gün — founding member founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums) — can trace their origins to Japser Verhulst’s deep and abiding passion for 60s and 70s Turkish psych pop and folk and to frequent tour stops in Istanbul with a previous band.

As a result of his tour stops in Istanbul, Verhulst wound up discovering a lot of music that wasn’t readily available in his homeland. But as the story goes, he wasn’t just content to listen as an ardent fan, he had a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved. “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 Dutch act actively interpret and reimagine this beloved material through a contemporary 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,‘” Verhulst explains.

The act’s sophomore album, last year’s Grammy Award-nominated, critically applauded Gece helped the Amsterdam-based act win further worldwide acclaim for their reimagining of traditional Turkish folk through the lens of psych rock and pop. The band’s highly-anticipated third album Yol, the third album from the Dutch act in three years, finds the act continuing to draw upon the rich and diverse traditions of Turkish and Anatolian folk music. But as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of the Dutch act was forced to write music in a new way: they traded 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 says 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.”

As a result of arrangements featuring Omnichord and 808 — and the new songwriting approach, the album finds the band crafting material that’s a bold, new sonic direction: a sleek, synth-based Europop sound with a dreamy quality that may have been informed by the enforced period of reflection. Additionally, Yol finds the members of Altin Gün enlisting Ghent, Belgium-based production duo Asa Moto — Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noë — to co-produce and mix the album, marking the first time that the band has collaborated with outsiders.

“Ordunun Dereleri,” Yol’s mesmerizing first single finds the Dutch act pairing an old folk standard with an arrangement centered around atmospheric and glistening synth arpeggios, four-on-the-floor drumming paired with Mediterranean-like polyrhythmic percussion, shimmering bursts of guitar, a sinuous, motorik groove and plaintive vocals. And while, being a sleek and futuristic push in a new sonic direction, the track finds the band balancing careful and deliberate attention to craft with a dreamy introspection.

Directed by Bob Sizoo and Najim Jansen, the recently released visual for “Ordunun Dereleri” is an incredibly cinematic fever dream that follows the Dutch act’s Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz driving a white BMW through a sodium and fluorescent-lit cityscape and into an eerie forest where he encounters the rest of the band. Even stranger things occur.

Yol is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through ATO Records/Cadence Music Group.

Raised in Istanbul, Benjamin Dean, an emerging singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. who relocated to the US when he was a teenager. In his early 20s, he wound up in Atlanta, where he studied at Georgia State University‘s School of Music for about a year before leaving school to focus on his own creative projects.

After leaving Georgia State, Dean wound up performing at a a number of venues in the Atlanta area including Eddie’s Attic and Smith’s Olde Bar. Last year, Dean released a series of alternative folk singles before deciding that he should take his music in a completely new direction. Earlier this year, Dean started writing material, which began incorporating elements of New Wave funk, indie rock and R&B — with the end result being his latest EP, Tame the Beast, which was released earlier this year. The EP’s latest single “The Silence” is a slinky and funky track featuring shimmering and atmospheric synths Nile Rodgers-like guitar, thumping drums, a two-step inducing hook paired with Dean’s plaintive falsetto. And while centered around an incredibly upbeat air, the track sonically reminds me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and Washed Out — earnest and thoughtful, yet dance floor friendly.

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Omar Souleyman Releases a Playful, Animated Visual for Club Banging Album Title Track “Shlon”

JOVM mainstay Omar Souleyman is a Tell Tamer, Syria-born, Istanbul, Turkey-based Sunni Arab vocalist, whose music career started in earnest back in 1994 when he began as a part-time wedding singer. His overall sound has largely been influenced by  the incredibly diverse milieu of Northeastern Syria — and as a result, Souleyman and a rotating cast of musicians and producers he has worked with since his early days have found a way to draw from and mesh the sounds and themes of the Kurdish, the Ashuris, the Turks, the Iraqis and the larger Arabic world in a way that’s both familiar and novel. Since then, Souleyman has become the region’s pioneer of dance floor friendly wedding music.

Amazingly since 1994, Souleyman has managed to be wildly prolific, releasing well over 500 studio and live albums with about 80% of those releases made at weddings. Most of those recordings were first presented to the newlywed couple, and then later copied and sold at local kiosks.  Souleyman has released four compilation albums and three full-length albums of original material: 2006’s Highway to Hassake, 2009’s Dabke 2020, 2010’s Jazeera Nights, 2011’s Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts and 2011’s Leh Jani,  2013’s Wenu Wenu, 2015’s Bahdeni Nami and 2017’s To Syria, with Love — and all of those albums have not only brought the sounds and grooves of the Middle East to the West, his recorded output has helped to expand the Tell Tamer-born, Istanbul-based vocalist’s profile internationally.

Adding to a rapidly rising international profile, Souleyman has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Paredes de Coura, a Caribou co-curated ATP Festival, ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Bonnaroo, Roskilde Festival, Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Pukkelpop Festival, Electric Picnic,  Treefort Music Festival — and oddly enough, one of the strangest House of Vans bills I’ve ever seen, in which he opened for Future Islands. And before I forget, he’s also collaborated with Bjork, contributing vocals for three remixes, which appear on an Biophilia.

Last November, the Tell Tamer-born JOVM mainstay released his fourth album Shlon, through Mad Decent/Because Music. Deriving its title from the Arabic word “how” or more literally “which color,” the album featured double keyboard work from Hasan Alo, a fellow native of the Hasaka region of Northeastern Syria, who has recently been active in Dubai’s vibrant nightlife scene, a well as saz work from Azad Salih, a fellow Syrian, who currently resides in Mardin, Turkey. The album also finds the Tell Tamer-born, Istanbul-based vocalist continuing his longtime collaboration with Syrian-born, Turkish-based lyricst Moussa Al Mardood, who the wrote most of the album’s lyrics spontaneously during the recording sessions.

Shlon is vintage Souleyman: 6 songs which mesh the dabke and baladi music beloved by the Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, the Kurdish and Iraqis with thumping, synth-led techno, and as always, the material thematically is comprised of swooning tales of devotion, adoration and love. So far I’ve written about two album singles — the club banging “Layle,” a slick and seamless synthesis of classically inspired poetry and modern electronic music production and “Shi Tirdin” a swooning declaration of love, centered around a club thumping production. Interestingly, the album’s latest single, album title track “Shlon” continues an incredible run of swooning, dance floor bangers: this time Souleyman sings of a woman, who has intrigued him from afar, whose kiss would be worth 10 million other kisses over a slick production that meshes Kurdish and Arabic dabke and baladi styles with contemporary electronic dance music production featuring layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats. Interestingly, the material may be the most ambitious and accessible of Souleyman’s career. 

Directed and animated by Sound Visuals Club, the recently released video for “Shlon” depicts an animated Omar Souleyman set in which the acclaimed Syrian wedding singer turned global dance music star plays his pan Arabic take on dance music in front of a energetic crowd, who at one point dances hand-in-hand. It’s a delightful and playful video that should remind the viewer that on the dance floor, we’re all the same. 

New Audio: Omar Souleyman Releases a Mesmerizing, Club Banging, Love Song

Omar Souleyman is a Tell Tamer, Syria-born, Istanbul, Turkey-based Sunni Arab vocalist, whose music career started in earnest back in 1994 when began as a part-time wedding singer. His overall sound has largely been influenced by  the incredibly diverse milieu of Northeastern Syria — and as a result, Souleyman and a rotating cast of musicians and producers he has worked with since his early days have found a way to draw from and mesh the sounds and themes of the Kurdish, the Ashuris, the Turks, the Iraqis and the larger Arabic world in a way that’s both familiar and novel. Since then, Souleyman has become the region’s pioneer of dance floor friendly wedding music. 

Amazingly since 1994, Souleyman has managed to be wildly prolific, releasing well over 500 studio and live albums with about 80% of those releases made at weddings. Most of those recordings were first presented to the newlywed couple, and then later copied and sold at local kiosks. Now, as you may recall Souleyman has released four compilation albums and three full-length albums of original material: 2006’s Highway to Hassake, 2009’s Dabke 2020, 2010’s Jazeera Nights, 2011’s Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts and 2011’s Leh Jani,  2013’s Wenu Wenu, 2015’s Bahdeni Nami and 2017’s To Syria, with Love — and all of those albums have not only brought the sounds and grooves of the Middle East to the West, his recorded output has helped to expand the Tell Tamer-born, Istanbul-based vocalist’s profile internationally. 

Adding to a rapidly rising international profile, Souleyman has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Paredes de Coura, a Caribou co-curated ATP Festival, ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Bonnaroo, Roskilde Festival, Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Pukkelpop Festival, Electric Picnic,  Treefort Music Festival — and oddly enough, one of the strangest House of Vans bills I’ve ever seen, in which he opened for Future Islands. And before I forget, he’s also collaborated with Bjork, contributing vocals for three remixes, which appear on an Biophilia.

Deriving its title for the Arabic word “how” or more literally “which color,” Shlon, which is slated for a November 22, 2019 release through Mad Decent/Because Music is the first batch of new material from Souleyman in a couple of years. The forthcoming album featres double keyboard work from Hasan Alo, a fellow native of the Hasaka region of Northeastern Syria, who has recently been active in Dubai’s vibrant nightlife scene, a well as saz work from Azad Salih, a fellow Syrian, who currently resides in Mardin, Turkey. The album also finds the Tell Tamer-born, Istanbul-based vocalist continuing his longtime collaboration with Syrian-born, Turkish-based lyricst Moussa Al Mardood, who the wrote most of the album’s lyrics spontaneously during the recording sessions.

Unsurprisingly, his fourth album is vintage Omar Souleyman — 6 songs which mesh the dabke and baladi music of music beloved by the Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, the Kurdish and Iraqis with thumping, synth-led techno — but at its core, the material is comprised of swooning tales of devotion, adoration and love. Now, as you may recall Shlon’s first single was the propulsive, club banging “Layle,” which was centered around Alo’s dexterous and dense layers of synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking polyrhythmic beats and Souleyman’s imitable vocals. But at its core, the song is a slick synthesis of classically-inspired poetry and modern production.  The album’s second and latest single “Shi Tirdin,” which translates into English as “What Do You Wish For?” is a high energy, club banger featuring mesmerizing layers of synth arpeggios and thumping beats and fluttering synths. And while continuing the album’s overall vibe of meshing techno and dabke music, the track is a swooning declaration of devotion, in which the song’s narrator readily offers his love anything she wishes for. 

New Audio: Internationally Acclaimed Omar Souleyman Returns with a Swooning, Club Banger

Omar Souleyman is a Tell Tamer, Syria-born, Istanbul, Turkey-based Sunni Arab vocalist, whose music career started in earnest back in 1994 when he was a part-time wedding singer. His overall sound has largely been influenced by  the incredibly diverse milieu of Northeastern Syria — and as a result, Souleyman and a rotating cast of musicians and producers he has worked with since his early days have found a way to draw from and mesh the sounds and themes of the Kurdish, the Ashuris, the Turks, the Iraqis and the larger Arabic world in a way that’s familiar and novel. In fact, Souleyman is considered the region’s pioneer of dance music/wedding music. 

Amazingly Souleyman has managed to be wildly prolific, releasing well over 500 stdio and live albums with about 80% of those releases made at weddings. Those recordings are first presented to the newlywed couple and then copied and sold at local kiosks. Over the better part of the last decade, Souleyman has released four compilations 2006’s Highway to Hassake, 2009’s Dabke 2020, 2010’s Jazeera Nights, 2011’s Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts and 2011’s Leh Jani and three full-length albums to the West, 2013’s incredible Wenu Wenu, 2015’s Bahdeni Nami and 2017’s To Syria, with Love –and all of those efforts have brought the sounds and grooves of the Middle East to the West, while expanding the Tell Tamer-born, Istanbul-based vocalist’s profile internationally. Adding to a rapidly rising international profile, Souleyman has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Paredes de Coura, a Caribou co-curated ATP Festival, ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Bonnaroo, Roskilde Festival, Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Pukkelpop Festival, Electric Picnic,  Treefort Music Festival — and oddly enough, one of the strangest House of Vans bills I’ve ever seen, in which he opened for Future Islands. And before I forget, he’s also collaborated with Bjork, contributing vocals for three remixes, which appear on an Biophilia.

Dericing its title for the Arabic word “how” or more literally “which color,” Shlon, which is slated for a November 22, 2019 release through Mad Decent/Because Music is the first batch of new material from Souleyman in a couple of years. The forthcoming album features double keyboard work from Hasan Alo, a fellow native of the Hasaka region of Northeastern Syria, who has recently been active in Dubai’s vibrant nightlife scene, a well as saz work from Azad Salih, a fellow Syrian, who currently resides in Mardin, Turkey. The album also finds the Tell Tamer-born, Istanbul-based vocalist continuing his longtime collaboration with Syrian-born, Turkish-based lyricst Moussa Al Mardood, who the wrote most of the album’s lyrics spontaneously during the recording sessions. 

Unsurprisingly, his fourth album is vintage Omar Souleyman — 6 songs which mesh the dabke and baladi music of music beloved by the Lebanese, Jordanians, Syrians, the Kurdish and Iraqis with thumping, synth-led techno — but at its core, the material is comprised of swooning tales of devotion, adoration and love. “Layle,” Shlon’s propulsive, club banging first single is centered around Alo’s dexterous and arpeggiated synth work, layers of tweeter and woofer rocking polyrhythmic percussion and Souleyman’s imitable vocals. And while the track instantly reminds me of the sounds of my home borough — particularly Astoria and Jackson Heights — the song is centered around some gorgeous poetry,. describing a woman’s lips as sweet as the dates of Hillah, making the song a slick synthesis of the classic and the modern. 

New Audio: Two New Shimmering Psych Pop Freakouts from Amsterdam’s Acclaimed Altin Gun

Deriving their name from the Turkish phase “Golden Day,” the Amsterdam-based Turkish psych pop act Altin Gun, comprised of founding member Jasper Verhulst (bass) with Ben Rider (guitar), Erdinc Ecevit Yildiz (keys, saz, vocals), Gino Groneveld (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals) and Nic Mauskovic (drums), can trace their origins to Verhulst’s deep and abiding passion for Turkish psych pop and folk of the 60s and 70s — and to frequent touring in Istanbul with a previous band. During his stops in Istanbul, Verhulst discovered a lot of music that just wasn’t readily available in his homeland. But as the story goes, he wasn’t content to just listen as an ardent fan, he wound up having a vision of where he could potentially take the sound he loved.

“We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ’60s and ’70s,” Verhulst admits 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.” Although the material, they’re playing has been a familiar and beloved part of Turkish life for a few generations, the Dutch-based act actively interpret and reimagine it through a contemporary, 21st century lens. “Of course, since our singers are Turkish, they know many of these pieces. All this is part of the country’s musical past, their heritage, like ‘House of The Rising Sun’ is in America,‘” Verhulst explains.

Altin Gun’s sophomore album Gece, the highly-anticipated follow-up to last year’s breakthrough On was released earlier this year through ATO Records. Interestingly, the album finds the Altin Gun further establishing themselves as masterful interpreters of a beloved Anatolian rock and folk history with the band bringing together music and sounds from several different sources. Additionally, the band further establishes themselves as a new voice from a rapidly growing, global psych scene. Now, as you may recall, earlier this year I wrote about the rising Amsterdam-based band’s hypnotic and swooning take on Muzaffer Sarısözen’s “Süpürgesi Yoncadan,” which was centered around shimmering and arpeggiated Casio-like synths, complex polyrhythm, thumping beats and a propulsive, club-banging hook.

Since, the release of Gece earlier this year, the members of Altin Gun have been rather busy: the band went on a critically applauded Stateside tour that included a July stop at Rough Trade. The band will be returning back to the States for their second ever Stateside tour with a handful of Midwest dates opening for Tame Impala, an appearance at this year’s Desert Daze Festival and a handful of headlining dates that includes an October 19, 2019 stop at Elsewhere. (You can check out the rest of the tour dates and specifics below.)

To build up buzz for their upcoming Stateside tour dates, the Dutch band have released two new singles off Gece — “Gelin Halayi” and “Div Div.” “Gelin Halayi” is a mischievously anachronistic, and slinky  take on psych pop centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, dexterous lute playing, a sinuous bass line, propulsive percussion and a sultry yet ethereal vocal that’s a feverishly hallucinogenic club banger. “Div Div” is any incredibly uptempo and percussive gallop centered around a plaintive vocals, a chugging motorik-like groove, dexterous lute and guitar that’s one part stomp and one part psych rock freak out. Both songs continue to reveal a band that’s introducing an amazing and unfamiliar sound to new audiences.

New Video: Introducing the Moody Joy Division-like Synth Pop of Turkey’s Jakuzi

Istanbul, Turkey-based synth-wave duo Jakuzi, which is comprised of Kutay Soyocak and Taner Yücel can trace its origins to when Soyocak and Yücel started the act in 2015 as a way for them to move away from their previous punk rock-leaning projects. When they released their debut cassette in 2016 Fantezi Muzik  no one seriously expected it to leave their immediate circle of friends and associates; however, the tape caught the attention of City Slang Records, who re-released the debut with new tracks the following year — and the album began to receive praise from internationally recognized media outlets, including The Quietus and The Guardian, and the band played sold-out shows with their musical idol John Maus. 

Fantezi Muzik’s material found the band going against the grain of what’s  expected from a male-fronted Turkish act. While most male-fronted acts from the duo’s homeland aren’t typically known for being introspective, Soyocak and Yücel’s work, which has been centered by a gothic sensibility, addressed the personal and psychological issues they were facing. 

Ironically, despite achieving the sort of success that most indie bands would probably kill for, the duo found themselves dealing with a number of challenging issues. Being musicians in their homeland is extremely challenging economically and personally  — and because their songs are written and sung entirely in their native Turkish, the language that Soyocak feels he can best express himself, the opportunities are limited. Currently, there aren’t playlists for Turkish DYI dream pop/dark wave/synth wave acts, their songs aren’t played on traditional radio shows and there isn’t a mass market for attending punk rock shows.  And although they’ve been frustrated and even demoralized, they have refused to give in; in fact, their long-awaited and forthcoming sophomore album Hata Payi (which literally translates as “part of the mistake”) reportedly finds the band delving deeper and making further explorations into the feelings and thoughts they touched upon in their debut — namely, what it’s like to be a young adult in Istanbul, having success and then having to live up to expectations, being an artist in a country that doesn’t quite get or support your work, managing personal relationships as you get older and mental health; but with a refined, darker sound. “I think my melancholy comes partly from where I live,” the band’s Kutay Soyocak says in press notes. “This can be seen in the lyrics. I sometimes feel dark, lost and lonely as everyone. Here, the economy and politics make me feel hopeless sometimes. The future seems blurry but we try to keep our hopes high and continuing what we do. The audience is getting bigger every day and they support us and it is just pure love in our gigs.’’

Interestingly, “Toz,” the second and latest single off Hata Payi immediately brings Joy Division to mind, as the song is centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, an angular and propulsive bass line, a big hook and Kutay Soyocak’s sonorous yet achingly sad baritone — and although the lyrics are completely in his native Turkish, the song evokes a loneliness that is deeply universal. 

Directed by Eli Kasavi, the recently released video for “Toz” stars a brooding and lonely Kutay Soyocak dancing alone in a room with flickering spotlight. As Kasavi explains in press notes. “It’s connected to the band’s previous video “Şüphe” where the main character watched a dancing couple with a feeling of doubt. That character has left that place now and is dancing by himself.”