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Aşk is Altın Gün building their hypnotic, psychedelic legacy


Release date: 31 March 2023
Altin gun ask cover
29 March 2023, 09:00 Written by Ross Horton

Altın Gün are the planet's best kept secret, despite being immensely popular around the world.

They're technically a psychedelic rock band, but their last two albums, Yol and Âlem, were more ABBA than Jefferson Airplane. Most notably however, across their four studio albums, they've shown a particular knack for being able to use traditional Turkish folk and Anatolian rock as springboards into heretofore unheard realms of electropop and funk rock. Simply put, they're an incredible act worthy of true mainstream success.

This new album, Aşk, builds on the successes of all of their previous work but loops them back to the more organic, heavier sound of their first two albums, On and Gece. Whether this is something to celebrate or not largely depends on how you like your psychedelia.

The change from their hi-gloss neon sound back to the earthier tones of their early work is apparent from the first seconds of the first track, “Badi Sabah Olmadan”, where thick and rubbery bass rides a furious motorik drumbeat into what can only be described as the Kingdom of Hawkwind. Erdinç Ecevit’s instantly recognisable vocal is as smooth and enticing as ever.

Then, they slow things down but amp up the groove quotient for “Su Sızıyor”, which features the first main vocal for Merve Daşdemir – the star of the band. Her golden tones take the songs she features on from merely infectious to truly unstoppable. Bassist Jasper Verhulst gets a chance to fully flex his fingers too.

“Leylim Ley” pushes in a soft-focus yacht rocking direction, while “Dere Geliyor” opens with a nocturnal, almost sinister vibe before going through three or four distinct tonal shifts. The diverse, kaleidoscopic nature of the band’s craft has never been more apparent than on these two songs.

“Çıt Çıt Çedene” and “Rakıya Su Katamam” show two completely different sides of the band’s sound, but both exemplify the quality on display on Aşk. The latter is probably the best song on the album, and one of the best they’ve ever put out. There are other highlights scattered liberally throughout the record too: the Moroder-funk of “Doktor Civanım” goes completely against the brief by sounding like a Yol-era single, and “Güzelliğin On Para Etmez” is four minutes of Pink Floyd worship.

Their music is always hypnotic, regardless of the pace, intensity or sonic makeup of each track – but Aşk is something else. It feels less like a consolidation of past glories than a showcase for a world-class rock band building their legacy. It will be undoubtedly considered a ‘return to form’ for fans who might have felt a little aggrieved about Altın Gün’s turn towards a softer direction on their last two records, but for new listeners, this is a superb place to jump on the bandwagon and a perfect introduction to a world of music that they might not have experienced otherwise.

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