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Listen to a Turkish psych compilation

November 2011

Compiled and annotated by Daniel Spicer, author of the Turkish psychedelia Primer in The Wire 334.

“La Légende Du Mont Ararat”

from Danses Et Rythmes De La Turquie D’Hier À Aujourd’hui
(World Psychedelia Ltd CD 2003, recorded 1971)

Moğollar keyboard player, Murat Ses, coined the term Anadolu Pop for the hybrid of Western pop and local folk popular in 1960s Turkey. By the time Moğollar recorded their debut album (from which this track is taken), they had begun to turn further East, wearing traditional costumes of sheepskin and rough fabrics and incorporating more Anatolian folk into their music.

Cem Karaca & Kardaşlar

from Püsküllü Moruk
(Destur 10” 2006, recorded 1970)

Kardaşlar formed in 1969, and was led by charismatic vocalist Cem Karaca. This loose jam is taken from Püsküllü Moruk, an ill fated stage adaptation of Ben Johnson’s Volpone, transferred by poet Ülkü Tamer from early 17th century Venice to the 18th century Ottoman Empire. The irresistible opening riff is played on the lute-like saz by Unol Buyukgonenc.

“Başak Saçlim”

from Bunalim
(Shadoks CD 2007, recorded 1970–72)

As their name suggests, Bunalim – meaning Depression – were a heavier, more underground unit than any of their contemporaries. Between 1969 and 1972 they released six singles, which offered varying strategies for colliding heavy rock and raw proto-punk with traditional Turkish sonorities. This track slams together flaming Edgar Broughton style freak blues and a gentle saz melody to thrilling effect.

Erkin Koray

from Elektronik Türküler
(World Psychedelia Ltd CD 1999, recorded 1974)

Erkin Koray was the first person to play rock ’n’ roll in Turkey, and one of the first to use amplified electric guitar. In 1974, he made his artistic breakthrough with Elektronik Türküler, deftly assimilating Western progressive music. This track is a crawling majoun groove that sounds like The Master Musicians Of Jajouka jamming with Sunburned Hand Of The Man.

Üç Hürel
“Ömür Biter Yol Bitmez”

from Hürel Arsivi
(World Psychedelia Ltd CD 2003, recorded 1970–75)

The Hürel brothers –Feridun, Haldun and Onur – were the only group on the Turkish scene to play all original compositions, characterised by Feridun’s extraordinary fretwork on his distinctive double-necked saz/guitar hybrid. This track features a strutting groove and a heavily processed, staccato guitar lick uncannily like the ‘popping’ effect from Hot Butter’s 1972 version of “Popcorn.”

“Yine Seni Tanirim”

from Ersen
(Finders Keepers CD 2008, recorded 1970–76)

“Yine Seni Tanirim”, a B-side from 1974, sets off at a terrific gallop, with Mehmet Gözüpek’s drums and Seyhan Karabay’s bass zipped into astonishingly tight proto-breakbeat, and Fehiman Uğurdemir overdubbing wasp buzz lead and deliriously funky wah-wah guitars, providing a framework over which the enigmatic vocalist Ersen Dinleten floats dreamy, narcotised lyrics. No one else in Turkey made music like this


from Selda
(Finders Keepers CD 2006, recorded 1976)

As the only female artist in a male dominated scene, Selda Bağcan couldn’t fail to stand out. Factor in a voice that could make five star generals tremble and you have one of Anadolu psych’s most striking personalities. “Gitme” combines a propulsive riff with Hawkwind style space-whooshes and Selda’s goading exhortations – and sounds like an invitation to rush headlong into the future.

Edip Akbayram
“Yakar Inceden Inceden”

from Edip Akbayram
(Shadoks 2xCD 2006, recorded 1972–77)

As this track shows, Edip Akbayram’s voice is the most Middle Eastern sounding of the key Turkish vocalists – like a muezzin on high, calling us to prayer. At the same time, his band Dostlar was more influenced by progressive Western music than many of their peers, cutting a series of heavily grooved 45s fuelled by Mithat Danişan’s sprawling bass guitar.

Bariş Manço
“Dere Boyu Kavaklar”

from Ben Bilirim
(Yavuz Asocal CD 1993, recorded 1972–75)

Singer Bariş Manco was a tangle of contradictions: an early rock ’n’ roller who pioneered synthesizers and embraced disco, and a hirsute troubadour who became a family-friendly establishment figure – he was also a towering figure in Anadolu psych. This track is a laidback vamp, with jazzy guitar and dubby organ effects effortlessly melded with a balmy Turkish melody.

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