Gaye Su Akyol – Fantastiktir Bahtı Yarimin

• “Fantastiktir Bahtı Yarimin” set to a picture of the housing album cover. Thanks to GSA.

8.5 “Excellent Middle Eastern from Turkey”

From her second album “Hologram İmparatorluğu”, released in November, 2016.

Gaye Su Akyol was born into an artistic family in 1985. As I write she now has three albums to her name: Develerle Yaşıyorum (2014), Hologram İmparatorluğu (2016) and İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir (2018).

I do love this type of fusion, mixing the traditional with the contemporary, taking western influences and serving them back with interest, something which seems to be working well in Turkey these days. It wasn’t always so easy for Turkish artists to listen to Western artists. Gaye Su Akyol seems like a leading representative of the brave new Turkish alternative music scene which continues to fight against a cultural conservatism in the country. As Bandcamp tells, when she met the band Bubituzak back in 2013, something clicked. They understood what she was doing; they became part of her art. I was reading a piece by Lottie Brazier in the Quietus which astutely noted that with Akyol’s albums now having international releases, and playing festivals like Roskilde and Womad, it will be harder for conservative forces in Turkey to silence this new wave that Istanbul now incubates.

The sultry and mystical track which is featured today makes perfect sense when you read about her mixed influences:

When I heard Nirvana’s Nevermind for the first time, my mind blew up. I discovered other Seattle bands, then people like Nick Cave, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and Einstürzende Neubauten. A bit later I heard Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” The dark, mellow mood of the music, the use of the instruments and the vocal technique of Grace Slick greatly inspired me and led me into psychedelia and then surf bands. What they all did seemed to fit with older Turkish singers I loved like Selda Bağcan and Müzeyyen Senar.

Your own culture is important; your parents and grandparents give it to you. No culture is better than any other. I studied as an anthropologist; I know that. So I began finding my culture and mixing it, balancing the traditional and modern elements in my music. My art, my sound. People focus so much on the technical part, but you have to look inside to find out what you want to do. You have to say something new. I want to change the world forever.

I look for passion in music, lyrics, feelings, people, conversations. There can be no limbo, in between. Passion talks with its very self-assured way to change something or convince someone. I believe we live in a hologram and art is my universe, so I organise the galaxies, planets, solar systems.

Your art is something you have to find yourself. I’m looking inside my consciousness to my culture. I love rock but there are hidden things in my subconscious. Call it Turkish art rock if you like.

As an added bonus, check out this live performance version, recorded especially for the Motto Music channel on YouTube in February, 2016:

No matter what language you speak, who could possibly fail to be impressed by this melding of Eastern and Western forces? Apart from the usual philistines of course!

Heard on Pete Jackson’s February 2017 show on Dandelion Radio.

Get it at Bandcamp.