Amsterdam’s Altin Gün have built a strong reputation for fusing past and present to make brilliantly catchy, upbeat pop music, as seen with their Grammy-nominated second album, Gece. Yol, their third album in as many years, continues that trend; while unveiling a number of sonic surprises.
It should be no surprise to learn that the band again draws from the rich and incredibly diverse traditions of Anatolian and Turkish folk music. But however familiar the story, Yol is not just a record that reframes traditional sounds for a contemporary audience. The album, which often presents a strongly international, poppy sound, also signals a very different approach in making and recording for the band. Singer Merve Dasdemir takes up the story: “We were basically stuck at home for three months making home demos, with everybody adding their parts. The transnational feeling maybe comes from that process of swapping demos over the internet, some of the music we did in the studio, but lockdown meant we had to follow a different approach.”
Yol displays a noticeable dreaminess, maybe born from this enforced time to reflect. And select elements of late 1970s or early 1980s “Euro” synth pop also shine through. This new musical landscape was nurtured by certain instrument choices; namely the Omnichord, heard on ‘Arda Boylari’, ‘Kara Toprak’ and ‘Sevda Olmasaydi’, and the drum-machine, an instrument that is key to the gorgeous closing number, ‘Esmerim Güzelim’. Dasdemir once more: “ bassplayer Jasper Verhulst loved the song. He said, ‘it doesn’t sound like Altın Gün, this sounds like a Turkish kindergarten music teacher from the 1980s using an 808!’