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After scoring a breakout success (and Piccadilly End Of Year nod) with their debut LP "On", Altın Gün return with an exhilarating second album. “Gece” firmly establishes the band as essential interpreters of the Anatolian rock and folk legacy and as a leading voice in the emergent global psych-rock scene. Explosive, funky and transcendent.  The world is rarely what it seems. A quick glance doesn’t always reveal the full truth. To find that, you need to burrow deeper. Listen to Altın Gün, for example: they sound utterly Turkish, but only one of the Netherlands based band’s six members was actually born there. And while their new album, Gece, is absolutely electric, filled with funk-like grooves and explosive psychedelic textures, what they play - by their own estimation - is folk music. “It really is,” insists band founder and bass player Jasper Verhulst. “The songs come out of a long tradition. This is music that tries to be a voice for a lot of other people.”

While most of the material here has been a familiar part of Turkish life for many years - some of it associated with the late national icon Neşet Ertaş – it’s definitely never been heard like this before. This music is electric Turkish history, shot through with a heady buzz of 21st century intensity. Pumping, flowing, a new and leading voice in the emergent global psych scene. “We do have a weak spot for the music of the late ‘60s and ‘70s,” Verhulst admits. “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.”

And what they create really is theirs. Altın Gün radically reimagine an entire tradition. The electric saz (a three-string Turkish lute) and voice of Erdinç Ecevit (who has Turkish roots) is urgent and immediately distinctive, while keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, and percussion power the surging rhythms and Merve Daşdemir (born and raised in Istanbul) sings with the mesmerizing power of a young Grace Slick. This isn’t music that seduces the listener: it demands attention.

Altın Gün – the name translates as “golden day” - are focused, relentless and absolutely assured in what they do. What is remarkable is the band has only existed for two years and didn’t play in public until November 2017; now they have almost 200 shows under their belt. It all grew from Verhulst’s obsession with Turkish music. He’d been aware of it for some time but a trip to Istanbul while playing in another band gave him the chance to discover so much more. But Verhulst wasn’t content to just listen, he had a vision for what the music could be. And Altın Gün was born. “For me, finding out about this music is crate digging,” he admits. “None of it is widely available in the Netherlands. 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.” As Verhulst delves deeper and deeper into old Turkish music, he’s constantly seeking out things that grab his ear.

“I’m listening for something we can change and make into our own. You have to understand that most of these songs have had hundreds of different interpretations over the years. We need something that will make people stop and listen, as if it’s the first time they’ve heard it.” It’s a testament to Altın Gün’s work and vision that everything on Gece sounds so cohesive. They bring together music from many different Anatolian sources (the only original is the improvised piece “Şoför Bey”) so that it bristles with the power and tightness of a rock band; echoing new textures and radiating a spectrum of vibrant color (ironic, as gece means “night” in Turkish). It’s the sound of a band both committed to its sources and excitedly transforming them. It’s the sound of Altın Gün. Incandescent and sweltering.

Creating the band’s sound is very much a collaborative process, Verhulst explains. “Sometimes me or the singer will come in with a demo of our ideas. Sometimes an idea will just come up and we’ll work on it together at rehearsals. However we start, it’s always finished by the whole band. We can feel very quickly if it’s going to work, if this is really our song.” Just how Altın Gün can collectively spark and burn is evident in the YouTube concert video they made for the legendary Seattle radio station KEXP. In just under 20 minutes they set out their irresistible manifesto for an electrified, contemporary Turkish folk rock. It’s utterly compelling. And with around 800,000 views, it has helped make them known around the world. “It certainly got us a lot of attention,” Verhulst agrees. “I think a lot of that interest originally came from Turkey, plenty of people there shared it.”

That might be how it began, but it’s not the whole tale. The waves have spread far beyond the Bosphorus. What started out as a deep passion for Turkish folk and psychedelia has taken on a resonance that now travels widely. The band has played all over Europe, has ventured to Turkey and Australia and will soon bring their music to North America for the first time. “Not a lot of other bands are doing what we do,” he says, “playing songs in that style and seeing folk music in the same way.”

Altın Gün are: Ben Rider (guitar) / Daniel Smienk (drums) / Erdinç Ecevit (synths, saz, vocals) / Gino Groenveld (percussion) / Jasper Verhulst (electric bass) / Merve Daşdemir (vocals, keys)

STAFF COMMENTS

Mine says: Almost exactly 12 months after their debut album 'On', Altin Gün are back with their follow-up 'Gece' - and only 2 songs in it's clear that it will again be contender for most played record on our shop stereo (and possibly sleeve of the year? But that might just be me...)! So what's it like their second album I hear you ask? Let me just say that Altin Gün have applied and absolutely nailed the so hard to action "more of the same but different" formula. If you were a fan of 'On' (if you weren't where were you last year??) or are intrigued by oriental cosmic psych funk this might possibly be your new favourite record!

Mekons

Deserted

    This legendary group from Leeds, have written contemporary music history for the last 40 years as radical innovators of both first generation punk and insurgent roots music. 'Deserted' marks the return of one of the planet’s most essential rock & roll bands. The new album was recorded in the desert environs of Joshua Tree, California and is drenched with widescreen, barbed-wire atmosphere and hard-earned (but ever amused) defiance.

    When punk exploded in London, fast and brash and full of fury, up in Leeds the Mekons came blinking into the light at a much slower pace. Singles like “Where Were You” and “Never Been in a Riot” (both from1978) fractured punk’s outlaw myth with the ordinariness of real life. During the next decade, as country singers donned cowboy hats and slid into the stadiums, the Mekons celebrated the music’s rough, raw beginnings and tender hearts with the Fear and Whiskey album (1985) and went on to demolish rock narratives with Mekons Rock’n’Roll (1989). For more than four decades they’ve been a constant contradiction, an ongoing art project of observation, anger and compassion, all neatly summed up in the movie Revenge of the Mekons, which has ironically brought an upsurge in their popularity around the US as new audiences discovers their shambling splendour. And now the caravan continues with Deserted, their first full studio album in eight years.

    And desert is an apt word. This time there’s an emphasis on texture and sounds, a sense of space that brings a new, widescreen feel to their music, opening up songs that surge like clarion calls, like the album’s opening track, “Lawrence of California.” The band arrived with no songs written, only a few ideas exchanged by email between Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh, the group’s other original member.

    Five days of brilliant chaos let their thoughts run free, from the almost-folk wonder of “How Many Stars” and the wide open space of “In The Desert,” to the oblique strangeness of “Harar 1883,” a song about French poet Arthur Rimbaud’s time in Ethiopia, inspired by photographs Greenhalgh has of the period.

    With their second album "Kin Sonic", Jupiter and Okwess transcend the Congo's unexplored musical heritage and dive into a pool of modernity. We're invited to savour his latest recipe, the Okwess ('food' in the Kibunda language) which is the fruit of all the encounters and influences he has absorbed during his many journeys around the world. It's a recipe based on perfect alchemy. Featuring Damon Albarn, Warren Ellis and Robert del Naja, aka '3D' (Massive Attack), this fusion of tradition, technology and modern technique should be the perfect soundtrack to many a summer to come.

    Noura Mint Seymali hails from a Moorish musical dynasty in Mauritania, born into a prominent family of griot and choosing from an early age to embrace the artform that is its lifeblood. Yet traditional pedigree has proven but a stepping- tone for the work Noura and her band have embarked upon in recent years, simultaneously popularizing and reimagining Moorish music on the global stage, taking her family's legacy to new heights as arguably Mauritania's most widely exported musical act of all time. "Arbina" is Noura Mint Seymali's second international release. Delving deeper into the wellspring of Moorish roots, as is after all the tried and true way of the griot, the album strengthens her core sound, applying a cohesive aesthetic approach to the reinterpretation of Moorish tradition in contemporary context. The band is heard here in full relief; soaring vocals and guitar at the forefront, the mesmerizing sparkle of the ardine, elemental bass lines and propulsive rhythms swirling together to conjure a 360 degree vibe. "Arbina" refines a sound that the band has gradually intensified over years of touring, aiming to posit a new genre from Mauritania, distinct unto itself; music of the "Azawan." Supported by guitarist, husband and fellow griot, Jeiche Ould Chighaly, Seymali's tempestuous voice is answered with electrified counterpoint, his quarter-tone rich guitar phraseology flashing out lightning bolt ideas. Heir to the same music culture as Noura, Jeiche intimates the tidinit's (Moorish lute) leading role under the wedding khaima with the gusto of a rock guitar hero. Bassist Ousmane Touré, who has innovated a singular style of Moorish low-end groove over the course of many years, can be heard on this album with greater force and vigor than ever before. Drummer/producer Matthew Tinari drives the ensemble forward with the agility and precision need to make the beats cut. Many of the songs on "Arbina" call out to the divine, asking for grace and protection. "Arbina" is a name for God. The album carries a message about reaching beyond oneself to an infinite spiritual source, while learning to take the finite human actions to necessary to affect reality on earth. The concept of sëbeu, or that which a human can do to take positive action on their destiny, is animated throughout.

    The first volume of Glitterbeat's new series of releases: Hidden Musics.

    Each Hidden Musics release will feature un-mediated "field" recordings of lesser-known global music traditions.

    "Hanoi Masters: War is a Wound, Peace is Scar" is a haunting audio document recorded in the summer of 2014 by Grammy-award winning producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Malawi Mouse Boys, The Good Ones). The sepia-tinged songs are sung and played live and direct by elderly Vietnamese musicians using half-forgotten traditional instruments. These musicians all have deep personal connections to the upheavals of the Vietnam War and the album's mesmerizing mood navigates the blurred line between raw beauty and muted sadness. 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, a war these Hanoi musicians still call the "American War", the wounds and scars of that era are ever-present. "Hanoi Masters" is an album of cautious healing and an unforgettable meditation on conflict, resistance, collective memory, and the longing for what has been lost.

    Samba Toure

    Gandadiko

    'Gandadiko', the title of Samba's potent, diverse and ambitious new album, translates from his native language Songhai as: "Land of Drought" or "Burning Land." The title seems to indicate a return to the dark textures that marked Albala but in fact ''Gandadiko' is a more complex story than that. Touré is known to search for the seeds of his musical ideas in the assorted stack of CDs he listens to while driving through the chaotic streets of Bamako. The out-of-the-box musical inspirations he has picked up for his new album range from Serge Gainsbourg to Bo Diddley via Tom Petty to funky psychedelia, though of course, all the raw material is instinctually filtered through the traditional melodies and rhythms of his Songhai musical heritage. 

    Black Mango

    Naked Venus / Soft Kicks

      A mysterious two-song release, licensed from a group of Bamako musicians who, with the exception of the Souku master Zoumana Tereta, choose to remain anonymous. Malian head music influenced in equal parts by Ali Farka Toure and Lou Reed.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd 10" Info: Limted edition - 500 copies only.

      Tamikrest means “crossing” in the language of the Kel Tamashek, a traditionally nomadic Saharan people that are commonly referred to as the Tuaregs. It is an apt name for a band that so successfully merges the values of their timeless culture with the sounds and visions they have encountered on a headlong journey to the concert stages and ipods of the world. Originally hailing from Kidal, in the northeast of Mali, as the result of ongoing war, persecution and political collapse most of the band now lives in exile in Algeria.

      Their new album “Chatma”, their third, deftly navigates these experiences and fashions them into a fully persuasive and poetic musical document. The album is filled with sober reflection, moral indignation, musical experimentation, cultural celebration and the kick of rock and roll.

      “Chatma” is also Tamikrest’s first album to be wholly written around a defined theme. In Tamashek “Chatma” means “Sisters” and the band has dedicated the album in their own words to: “the courage of the Tuareg women, who have ensured both their children's survival and the morals of their fathers and brothers.”

      The opening track “Tisnant an Chatma (The suffering of my sisters)” is a heartbreaking homage: »Who can estimate the suffering felt by the soul / of one who sees her sisters exhausted from waiting/ of one who sees her sisters exhausted from waiting between countries, in deep distress /and daily oppression?«

      Fittingly for an album so lyrically evocative, “Chatma” also delivers Tamikrest's most wide-screen and wide-ranging sonic statement to date. The infectious, sing-along rock stylings of "Imanin bas zihoun", the acoustic seduction of “Adounia tabarat”, the Pink Floyd influenced montage "Assikal" and the lush, melancholy ambiance of the albums finale, “Timtar”, all add up to a sustained audio adventure. Echoes of dub, blues, psychedelia, funk and even art-rock are seamlessly weaved by Tamikrest into their increasingly individual take on the Tuareg musical tradition.

      And on an album where the title translates as "Sisters", it makes perfect sense that this time around we hear the full emergence of the haunting voice of female vocalist Wonou Walet Sidati in tandem with lead vocalist Ousmane Ag Mossa. A new guitarist, Paul Salvagnac has also joined the band, bringing with him fresh textures and possibilities.

      Contemporary Tuareg music has produced several unforgettable albums in recent years and "Chatma" certainly deserves to be ranked with these. But one also gets the sense, when listening to “Chatma” that there is something uniquely innovative and exploratory about Tamikrest's musical quest and that at last they have stepped into a wide-open space of their own.



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