Too tame Turkish pop

Yil Dönümü

by Mustafa Üstünel – on the album “Sevgilim Almanyali”

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This track starts off like the coolest Casio demo ever.

The timbres are all familiar 80s/90s digital keyboard but the track begins with an intoxicating, serpentine melody. Singer Mustafa Üstünel has a pliant tenor voice — but it tends to get a bit adenoidal in the upper ranges. And the melodies of his vocal lines, though they have familiar mideastern microtonal elements, don’t seem to capture the same exoticism as that opening melody.

Also, the higher production values and surprisingly restrained use of reverb and echo may well disappoint those more accustomed to the timeless exociticism of a huge, dark voice bellowing into a spring reverb over a wall of middle eastern strings, so familiar from older recordings from Turkey, Iran, and elsewhere.

I listened to 3 tracks, 2-5. If you hurry, you could be the first to listen to the next 9 or so. That said, I think I’d recommend going back in the Forgotify Files a few days to the next most recent contribution from the Turkic world, which was overflowing with gritty, distorted, awesomely echoey, world vibe.

Not what I was expecting… microtonal singing, balalaikas, and an ocean of reverb

BaSa Gelmeyen Olmaz

by Bestekar Salihi – on the album “Liseli Sevdigim”

1ba0c012bf9cebda6381fb63f0213d0b3185cc4dFrom the bland, modern cover I was somehow expecting maybe some polite, contemporary jazz.

What I got was wild, wooly, deeply reverbed Turkish (I think, info in English on this artist proved hard to find — certainly he seems to be based in Turkey) balalaika pop, with the husky voiced singer weaving microtonal melodies through a wilderness of hissy, indistinct overdubs drowned in reverb…

That might not sound all that cool, I dunno. But I find it as oddly compelling as a taxi ride through the outskirts of Istanbul… in fact, this collection, for me, evokes an imagined transistor radio swinging by a hand strap from the mirror of such a taxi as the utterly exotic and strangely distant music sways in the listener’s mind.

On Google Music