W.A.M. 1979 / AMS 2022
From Turkey to France to grasp the whole wide world: half-forgotten progressive rock heroes begin their far-reaching trip.
Despite this group’s reunion having happened almost a decade ago, it was not until the issue of "Points Of Libration" in 2022 that many recently born listeners found themselves eager to explore the early part of the journey Setrak Bakirel and Eril Tekeli had embarked upon back in the ’70s, and discover the band’s debut album. “Crossing The Line” is a gem of sparkling brilliance with more than a few vestiges of Anatolian rock making it stand out still, forty-odd years after the release. Although its appeal seemed to be limited at the time, the ensemble’s legend looms large now, as international art-rock community’s interest in what used to be considered fringe subgenres has grown immensely, and the collective’s ingenuity, which alienated some fans in the past, acquired a fresh pull.
Of course, the Eastern sweetness of the platter’s pieces can’t overshadow the trio’s conceptual orientation, the record starting with the fragile pastorale of “Preface” before folk passages become robustly panoramic and vocals weave a riveting story and ending with the solemn “Postface” yet never losing its proudly passionate original face. The album’s also loath to lose its flaming heart that drives the percussive nuances of epic “Mahzun Gözler” towards rapturous catharsis, while Tekeli’s six-string strum and Bakrel’s bass create a solid background for the former’s flute and the latter’s voice to lay down an alluring mélange of Turkish lyrics and American sort of glacial, if funk-troubled prog. Sure, the riff-laden assault of “Misfortune” should remind an aficionado of a certain British reedman but the number’s mesmeric flow, pinpointed by Lionel Beltrami’s heavy beat and enhanced by guest Nick Vicentei’s cosmic synthesizers, will unfold a highly individual tapestry which highlight this band’s singular path, the guitar flight on the mellifluous “Landscape” framing their arresting balladry and intrepid rocking.
As a result, there’s no surprise in “Visions” getting punctured and patterned in quite a complex instrumental way, whereas there’s wonder in the song’s histrionic development, and in the marvelous dynamic contrast taking “Hayal Dolu Günler Için” as close to reverie as possible. That is the titular line this collective were crossing back in the ’70s and carry on drawing presently; that is their glorious beginning.