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Album Review: Yol (February 26, 2021) – Altın Gün

By Evan Cardinal, Albright College ‘21

Album Review: Yol (February 26, 2021) – Altın Gün

The Context – Even music afficionados may not recall that the nation of Turkey was home to a prominent psychedelic scene in the 60s and 70s with Anatolian rock acts such as Barış Manço, Selda, Erkin Koray, and Neşet Ertaş. Inspired by these trailblazers’ blend of traditional Turkish instrumentation and psych-rock, Dutch-Turkish band Altın Gün formed to revitalize the historic sonic movement and make it their own with a modern flair.

Amsterdam’s neo-psychedelic folk group—comprising of Jasper Verhulst (bass), Ben Rider (guitar), Nick Mauskovic (percussion), Merve Dasdemir (vocals/keys), Erdinç Ecevit (vocals/electric saz/keys), and Gino Groeneveld (percussion)—released their debut record On in 2018 but did not attract more than a local following until Seattle’s KEXP radio station featured a four-song studio session from the band. Altın Gün became an internationally-recognizable act soon thereafter this set and a feature at King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s Gizzfest predating the release of Gecce in 2019—a 62nd Annual Grammy nominee for Best World Music Album.

The Content – Yol, the third LP from Altın Gün, starts with a dreamy, melodic trance in “Bahçada Yesil Çinar” that transitions beautifully into their synth and bass-laden rendition of the traditional Turkish folk song “Ordunun Dereleri.” Neşet Ertaş’s classic “Bulunur Mu” is transformed into an infectious drum machine-led beat that gives the track a Devo-esque backdrop to Dasdemir’s shimmering vocals. Altın Gün spins another cover on “Hey Nari,” giving a funky groove to the Çekiç Ali original. Turkish folk song “Yüce Dag Basinda” undergoes a jolting electro-psych fusion courtesy of the alternative group. In compositional collaboration with Ertaş, “Kesik Çayir” is Altın Gün’s first original track on the record and serves as the lengthiest selection with a noteworthy instrumental break closing the song.

Dasdemir’s best vocal performance comes on the band’s take on the traditional folk song “Arda Boylari” as the minimalist production allows the minor vocal distortion to cascade soothingly. The cosmic mastering of Turkish folk legend Aşık Veysel’s “Kara Toprak” represents another interesting reimaging from the neo-psych group. Ertaş is credited yet again for composing the strikingly well-balanced traditional and modern groove on “Sevda Olmasaydi.”  The band concludes their record with three danceable renditions of Anatolian folk classics in the foot-tapping, funky “Maçka Yollari,” the percussion-led “Yekte,” and the minimal hip-hop-sounding “Esmerim Güzelim.”

The Skinny – Altın Gün’s Yol pays homage to the foundational staples of popular as well as traditional Turkish music, yet the record ultimately sees the band fashion their own refreshing angle on the classics. The blend of traditional arrangement and electronic production formulates a sonic palette that reimagines but does not desecrate the significance of the original subject material. Especially when complimented with the album artwork reminiscent of a 70s science-fiction novel, the sounds of Yol transport listeners to a timeless, neo-psychedelic realm.  

The Rating – 6.9/10


  1. Bahçada Yesil Çinar
  2. Ordunun Dereleri
  3. Bulunur Mu
  4. Hey Nari
  5. Yüce Dag Basinda
  6. Kesik Çayir
  7. Arda Boylari
  8. Kara Toprak
  9. Sevda Olmasaydi
  10. Maçka Yollari
  11. Yekte
  12. Esmerim Güzelim