Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Ah! Kosmos is impressively unpredictable on Beautiful Swamp

"Beautiful Swamp"

Release date: 05 October 2018
Ah kosmos
09 October 2018, 17:00 Written by Ray Honeybourne
Integrating diverse effects while preserving specific details is necessarily a challenge for artists such as the Istanbul-born and Berlin-resident Başak Günak, aka Ah! Kosmos, and here, providing vocals, guitars and synths, along with programming across the record, she proves herself eminently capable through an album that is highly rewarding.

The title suggests an immersive musical experience, and indeed there are blissful passages here, but there are also more rhythmically-forceful tracks such as “June” where vocals lead into a fine range of hard-driven instrumental and electronic sounds that are insistent but never oppressive. It’s an illustration of the care she has taken to balance sparingly the musical resources, intelligently resisting the all-enveloping, or swamp-like, at key points.

Her background of composing for contemporary dance and theatre productions is a fine asset, clear on the excellent “It Rains Without You” that, in places, could fall into the frenetic but stays this side to convey an energy that is measured yet suggestive of something more bacchanalian.

The separation and subsequent cohering of sounds is especially well handled on “Dawn”, with a lovely fluent moving between emphases on percussion, strings and vocals that is characteristic of Beautiful Swamp. An indication of the attention given to the construction of the album is the juxtaposition of “Paradise” (featuring Leah Christienson) followed by “Beyond Dreams” (with Turkish jazz singer Elif Çaglar). The two tracks, clearly differing in pace and rhythm from each other, nevertheless demonstrate Başak Günar’s recognition of significant production techniques to avoid a garish collage of exotica.

There is a real sense, over the course of the record, of allowing vocals to determine the dexterity of instrumental and electronic inter-weaving, precisely ensuring that what results has a range of colours, yet the chromatic mix remains consistent with the aim of channelling specific details within a harmonious but never predictable whole that, ultimately, is thoroughly impressive.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next