Altin Gün were formed by former members of Jacco Gardner's band to pay tribute to the Turkish psychedelia of the early '70s that they discovered and fell in love with while on tour in Turkey. Bassist Jasper Verhulst fell under the spell of artists like Baris Manço, Selda Bağcan, and Erkin Koray, who blended traditional Turkish folk sounds with the wild sounds of their day, so Verhulst decided he wanted to do something similar in the 2010s, using modern production techniques and synthesizers along with psych guitars and Turkish instruments. The core musical group was formed in the Netherlands by members of Gardner's band, and they were lucky enough to find two Turkish vocalists/players who knew the ins and outs of their country's folk music while also being plugged into the modern psych scene. The group's first recordings were sparkling updates of old songs (often written by Turkish legend Neşet Ertaş) that built the template for their first major release, 2019's Gece. Powered by the rhythm section's elastic bounce, the guitar's fuzzy wandering, the bubbling keyboards, and the bewitching sound of the electric saz (as played with fiery precision by Erdinç Ecevit), the album has a rich sound that rivals anything by modern psych masters like Dungen and King Gizzard, while remaining true to their brief of making the classic Turkish sound come alive for the modern era. Ecevit's alternately mournful and joyous vocals are a clear tie to the past, as is Merve Daşdemir's hauntingly beautiful singing. They give the music a legitimacy it wouldn't otherwise have, no matter how faithful and knowledgeable Verhulst and his crew were. It's no history lesson, though. Tracks like the rollicking "Vay Dunya" or the synth pop/psych hybrid "Supurgesi Yoncadan" are made for dancing, "Yolcu" and "Ervah-i Ezelde" are loose and funky jams that mine the same territory as Khruangbin, and songs as spookily pretty as "Leyla" or "Anlatmam Derdimi" make for perfect soundtrack music for introspective summer evenings when the shadows are just beginning to creep in. Most of the songs are updates of Turkish folk songs -- many by Ertaş -- and the group do right by the originals and the '70s updates, too. It's clear that they respect and love the source material; more importantly, Gece is pure psychedelic music that's thrillingly expansive, wildly melodic, emotionally expressive, and transports listeners to a time and place far from the workaday world.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra