The part Dutch, part Turkish group Altin Gün are dedicated to honoring and updating the psychedelic sounds of Turkey in the late '60s and early '70s. Mixing traditional Turkish instruments with fuzz guitars and synths, the sounds heard on their two albums (2018's On and 2019's Gece) are reverent to the wild sounds of the past while fitting in perfectly with the neo-psych sounds of their own era. The idea of the group came about when bassist Jasper Verhulst, guitarist Ben Rider, and drummer Nick Mauskovic (all members of Jacco Gardner's live group) were on a tour stop in Turkey. Verhulst spent his time off record shopping, bought some albums by artists like Barış Manço, Selda, and Erkin Koray -- the main movers of the Turkish psychedelic scene -- and immediately fell in love with the sound. Back home in Amsterdam, Verhulst recruited the other two musicians with the idea that they would play covers of Turkish folk songs and give them a modern psychedelic update just like the bands and artists did in the '70s. One of the main sources the band drew inspiration from was singer and saz genius Neşet Ertaş. They realized quickly that they needed more musicians, specifically some Turkish people who would understand the lyrics and give their sound some authenticity. They found singer/keyboardist Merve Dasdemir and the multi-talented Erdinç Ecevit (electric saz, vocals, keys) through social media and also added local percussionist Gino Groeneveld to round out the lineup. The group workshopped their evolving sound -- with Verhulst and Ecevit choosing the songs they planned to update with deep funk beats, synthesizers, and echoing psychedelic guitars -- and soon began playing live shows in their home country. Altin Gün found a receptive audience made up of both Dutch fans and those from the sizable Turkish population living in Holland. They released their first single in 2017 for the Bongo Joe label, then in 2018 released their debut album, On. They had been playing loads of shows by then -- everything from summer festivals to cramped clubs -- and caught a break when the influential Seattle radio station KEXP heard the band and decided to feature a session from them on their popular web streaming site. The four-song set reached hundreds of thousands of viewers and instantly boosted their profile. Later that same year, Altin Gün played a set at King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's Gizzfest, where they caught the attention of that band's label ATO Records. ATO signed the band to a deal, and with new drummer Daniel Smienk on board, Altin Gün began work on their second album. Working again with Jasper Geluk, who had recorded On, the group delivered another powerful modern take on the classic Turkish psychedelic sound, sourced as before from traditional folk songs with the only exception being the sole original composition, "Şoför Bey." The finished album, titled Gece, was released by ATO in April 2019, and the band set off on another world tour soon after. ~ Tim Sendra
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 26, 2019 | ATO RECORDS
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. ~ Tim Sendra
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