Their 5th album in as many years, Aşk (deeper feeling of love) marks an exuberant return to the 70s Anatolian folk-rock sound that characterised Altın Gün’s first two albums.

With Aşk, the Amsterdam-based sextet Altın Gün  turn away from the electronic, synth-drenched sound of their 2021 albums, Âlem and Yol. While those two, created at home during the pandemic.

“It’s definitely connecting more with a live sound – almost like a live album,” says bassist Jasper Verhulst. “We, as a band, just going into a rehearsal space together and creating music together instead of demoing at home.”

“We didn’t record it like we did the last album,” agrees vocalist Merve Daşdemir. “We basically produced that one at home because of the pandemic. Now we’ve gone back to recording live on tape.”

“We took a very traditional approach to recording a rock album, like in the 70s,” Verhulst adds. In this instance, that doesn’t just mean getting six musicians together in a room with a  few microphones. “It’s also about the gear that we are using,” says Verhulst, “the tape and

It’s this attention to detail in using vintage equipment and recording techniques that gives the album such a warm and welcoming sound.

But, above all, this is the sound of friends and collaborators joyfully reconvening to make music together again in real time and space. There’s also a deliberate return to the source in the material they’ve chosen for this album. All ten tracks are new readings of traditional
Turkish folk tunes, revealing how these ancient songs remain eternally resonant and ripe for reinterpretation.

“These songs have been covered so many times, always,” says Daşdemir “But not really in psychedelic pop versions,” Verhulst adds.

The album begins with “Badi Sabah Olmadan,” which also featured on Âlem as a burbling electronic excursion. But this is a different trip entirely. The opening snare roll cracks tight like a starting pistol, signalling a headlong flight into driving space rock, with Erdinç Ecevit supplying dolorous vocals and gnarled electric saz, and Thijs Elzinga’s razored slide guitar suggesting an Anatolian cousin to Pink Floyd’s psychedelic barn-stormer “One of These Days.”

The saz and slide guitar are all over “Su Sızıyor” too, a reggae-funk groove with Verhulst and drummer Daniel Smienk in-the-pocket like Sly and Robbie, providing a tight backdrop for Daşdemir’s pleading, teasing vocals. On “Dere Geliyor,” Ecevit adds ethereal keyboards, rolling into a deeply-dosed synth solo with Chris Bruinings’ clattering hand drums and stumbling time signatures summoning an epic prog-folk feel.

“Çit Çit Cedene” is the only track on the album that has previously had a 70s psych-folk makeover, by none other than Anadolu-psych legend Barış Manço. Here, Altın Gün add extra punch to his sultry funk vibe, with Ecevit unfurling another mind-blowing synth solo. The spirit of Barış Manço can also be detected in “Kalk Gidelim,” which bears distinct traces of Manço’s seductive classic “Lambaya Puf De.”

Fresh yet timeles

Sometimes, their sound is quite hypnotic, sometimes very psychedelic and practically always enough with oriental 70’s influences. Turkish traditional music and Turkish folk represent a constant inspiration for this band, which in its own way experiments with sound steps. Actual release in some segments is more oriented towards 70’s oriental elements and certain songs occasionally remind the “thoughts” of bands from the 70’s.

But, listening to the complete material, it is clear that the band has not lost anything of its previously recognizable authenticity. Rooted in antiquity yet yearning for heavenly futures. Aşk wants to take you places. All you have to do is strap yourself in.

Glitterbeat and NMR (foto: Catharina Gerritsen, press)