Various Artists

Istanbul 70: Psych, Disco, Folk Classics

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Since the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century, bits and pieces of Istanbul's Anatolian pop and Turkish rock movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s respectively, have been tricking out on CDs and LPs. Works by Erkin Koray have been most prevalent, but we've also seen the catalogues of Cem Karaca, and Bariş Manço, early tracks by Esmeray, and more. This compilation issued by the New York's fine and adventurous Nublu label offers a fine overview of the post-Anatolian pop scene by the innovators of the Turkish rock scene, with early cuts by these artists and more. The latter days of the Ottoman Empire were responsible for the access to Western music. Young people reacted enbthusiastically nationally, but Istanbull was the cultural hotbed. Bands were formed and singers recorded versions of Western hits using local instrumentation and modalities. Even Western artists --from Europe--recorded albums in Turkish. At the dawn of the 70s with the new economic prosperity ushered in by Bulent Ecevit government, more adventurous artists began trying to forge original music that drew equally on Western and Turkish styles. Thus the Turkish Rock Movement was born. One listen to "Ikimiz Bir Fidaniz," by Kamuran Akkor will solidify this: trancey, distorted guitars, electric saz, synth, and funky beats meet the Arab world's traditional music styles, from modes and scales to its vocal phrasings, wholesale. The very next cut, Moğolar's "Musik Moğolar," is another case in point. A taut, insistent electric bassline rumbles and propels a swooping violin, and electric piano into a hybrid of psych, funk and Middle Eastern folk. Koray's "Cemalim," a well known single, highlights his masterful guitar playing, striding out on the rock edge a bit more with some frantic drum breaks, and haunted male vocals. Esmeray's " Ayrink Olsa Bile," is the trippiest thing she ever recorded--dig reverb on the popping hand claps and dumbeks.While "Binboğanin Kizi," by Manço is Turkish blues meets Farfisa psych, the set closes with the emergence of disco in Turkey with Nazan Şoray's "Tesselliye Sen Gerek." In sum, this is a killer collection that presents a vast amount of stylistic invention in a remarkably consie package.

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