Türküola 1981 / Pharaway Sounds 2016
Between the future and the past, a pearl of Anatolian rock shines on.
Years after his 1999 passing, Bariş Manço remains one of the most influential – and, most importantly, loved – figures on the Turkish music scene, this album most clearly crystallizing the artist’s vision. Here, original pieces based on traditional tunes sit alongside cosmic creations that reveal Manço’s love for prog, although there’s no space for retrofuturism in such a heady mix which brought Bariş a few hits. So while songs like the effervescent “Adem Oğlu Kizgin Firin Havva Kizi Mercimek” or “Arkadaşım Eşşek” with its cartoonish chorus are possessed of pop appeal, the record’s real depth lies in more complex creations.
The composer takes his time weaving orchestral synthesizers and celestial organ into an unhurried funk of “Alla Beni Pulla Beni” before duetting with Deniz Tüney’s over a sensual bass throb, yet once “Şehrazat” has risen above the Rimski-Korsakov foundation – with English lyrics wrapped in Eastern motifs that feel so natural in the woodwind and strings interplay – a ska-kissed dance is shifting solemnity towards a pure joy. Same theme may kickstart the twang of “Gülpembe” but its lyricism is given a sharp guitar riff and a sci-fi keyboard solo, one to unfold and zigzag in “2025 (Üçüncü Ve Son Yolculuk)” – an alien folk instrumental, mesmerizingly tender and adventurously muscular at the same time – and snap to a dry groove in “Dönence” where the flight gets distilled to a glossy sort of fusion.
Unpredictable, if well-anchored, “Sözüm Meclisten Disari” is a gem and a milestone of Anatolian rock, a record that deserves a much wider recognition.