Altın Gün – A Turkish kind of world-psychedelia

 

An introduction of sorts to a Turkish/Dutch musical phenomenon from Alan Dearling

Spotify 2023 statistics for:

As my friends and work colleagues well know, I used to have an apartment in Turkey for over a dozen years, worked there occasionally, and made an effort to listen to and buy a fair amount of Turkish music. I’ve also spent a lot of time in the Netherlands, where there is a significant Turkish and Kurdish population.  And the music of Altın Gün is my kind of music. It’s based on folk music, expanded by jazz, rock world-sounds and it blasts the ears and eyes with a transcendent patina of psychedelic colour.

From Wikipedia we learn that: “Altın Gün (meaning Golden Day in Turkish) is a Turkish psychedelic rock, also known as Anatolian rock, band from Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was founded by bassist Jasper Verhulst in 2016 when he posted an ad on Facebook looking for Turkish musicians. Their style has been described as ‘psychedelic’ with a ‘dirty blend of funk rhythms, wah-wah guitars and analogue organs’.”

I rather like the French description that it is ‘musique cosmique’! Their two vocalists are Turkish and the other four members are Dutch.

The band are incredibly hard-working, hard-travelling. In 2023, their latest album ‘Ask’ was released to considerable acclaim. And lots of frenetic excitement, especially for those who have seen them live. Here are two videos produced by the French company, Arte. The second one features a May 2023 concert and displays their artfulness, and how they’ve developed into a real world musical treasure. The first shorter video of them live at Cabaret Sauvage in Paris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN1xDwhSqwA

And here’s the link to a full length show. A word of warning, it takes a while to get going. Low-key jazzy sounds at first before erupting into a powerhouse when their vocalists join their instrumental opening trio line-up.  You can always fast-forward. Altın Gün are a veritable Turkish/Dutch gemstone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyBCkjo6gPw

Fundamentally, they’ve evolved from a relatively straightforward Turkish rock-folk ensemble. Adding many jazz and synth elements. But once they get into full-on psych with the added sounds of Turkish pop vocalisation and some instrumentation such as the electronic-saz formation, they are an awesome psychedelic-rock outfit.  

Their 2023 album ’Ask’ has been a significant, somewhat underground hit across the world, bolstered by their heavyweight festival appearances and gigs in the USA, Canada, across Europe, and in Mexico.

Many commentators now suggest that they are among the very top echelon purveyors of world music as we enter into 2024 and beyond.

Here’s record label, Rough Trade’s verdict on their 2023 album, Number 14 on the Rough Trade ‘Albums of the year’ chart:

 

“Simply stunning. Their 5th album in as many years ‘Ask’ (deeper feeling of love), marks an exuberant return to the 70s Anatolian folk-rock sound that characterised Altin Gün’s first two albums. It is a record that radiates the infectious energy found in the Amsterdam-based sextet’s celebrated live performances and next levels the group’s ground breaking sonic palette of Turkish psychedelic groove pop, sci-fi disco and dreamy acid folk.”

I rather agree!

Here’s a video made to accompany one of the tracks from the ‘Ask’ album. Not exactly UK PC, but mesmeric…full of Old Skool Turkish Delight: ‘Rakiya Su Katamam’, written by Selami Şahin, performed by Altın Gün: 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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