Kit Sebastian

Mantra Moderne

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It's the age of the reissue, with the vinyl boom promoting re-pressings of classic records and the unearthing of rare gems, so much so that many record labels and distributors have positioned themselves as exclusively trading in the past. Mantra Moderne snuck into existence disguised as a lost record, presumably discovered in the corner of a Turkish street market, when in fact it only imitates its influences keenly enough to disguise its origins in the late 2010s. This is aided by its release on Mr Bongo, a label that specializes in reissues and jumped at the chance to release this loving ode to '60s international psychedelia.

Clearly a genre fan, French multi-instrumentalist Kit Martin enlisted Merve Erdem for her Turkish vocals. Joining forces in London, they took full license to globe hop in pursuit of psych reconstruction, flicking between English, French, and Turkish lyrics at will. The production is specifically on point, using modern techniques combined with simpler analog technology for the sultry tones; they also recorded the entire effort in under 12 hours to give it the required loose, spontaneous feel. The tone of the album is set in the very first second, as a guitar line wriggles out instantaneously; from there, the warm production never lets up. Inspired by an era rather than a specific sound, Mantra Moderne dips a toe into multiple regions, including smoky New Orleans jazz on the title track and later on in "Kuytu." The grooviest moments arise in the back half on "Pangea" and in album highlight "Yürüdüm, Büyüdüm, Çürüdüm," but ultimately the entire experience is a masterclass in mood. The dedication to setting is almost unreal, as if constructed by a time traveler, and in many ways, Kit Sebastian's ability to draw so accurately from the past is exactly that, or at the very least, he has a savant-like ability to re-create vintage psychedelia and resist the temptation to update the aesthetics.

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