Altin Gün adds synthpop to their eclectic arsenal on Yol | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Altin Gün adds synthpop to their eclectic arsenal on Yol 

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click to enlarge Altin Gün

Altin Gün

Rona Lane

Altin Gün kicked off last year with a Grammy nomination (their 2019 release Gece was up for Best World Music Album) and major festival bookings such as SXSW and Coachella. But like virtually every other working band, they got sidelined by circumstances beyond their control. Nearly a year later, this group of Dutch, Turkish, and Indonesian musicians, who operate out of Amsterdam, have released their third album, Yol, and it’s a reminder of the unexpected upsides of misfortune. In an alternate universe where Altin Gün had been able to realize their initial plans to work on Yol together in Malibu, rather than over the Internet from their homes, they might have never tapped into the sleek 80s synth-pop sounds and unhurried atmospheres of Yol. Because the band are known for interpreting Turkish folk songs through a lens of Turkish psych and Anatolian rock, the new record might at first feel like a detour, but its variety of moods and textures make it seem like Altin Gün could coax any sound under their sonic umbrella. The icy sheen of the synth-driven “Ordunun Dereleri” is melted only by the yearning vocals of singer Erdinç Ecevit Yildiz, and the song segues directly into the charming pop of “Bulunur Mu.” The group flip the mood switch again on “Arda Boyları,” a Turkish traditional about a woman who drowns herself rather than be forced into an arranged marriage; the band’s minimal arrangements and Merve Daşdemir’s sweet singing make it feel like the world’s saddest lullaby. The single “Kara Toprak,” a cover of a song by Turkish poet and musician Âşık Veysel, contemplates the inevitability of death to the accompaniment of funky grooves, spacey effects, and the lush electronic tones of the band’s new Omnichord. They also employ that instrument to great effect on the trippy “Sevda Olmasaydi,” which leads into the bright disco beat and hooky Turkish rhythms of “Maçka Yolları.” When all its parts are summed up, Yol provides some much-needed fuel to get us through what with any luck will be our last few months without live music, and it’s already poised to inspire the dance parties of the future.   v

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