Album Review: Gaye Su Akyol – Hologram Ĭmparatorluğu [Glitterbeat Records, 11th November, 2016]

Gaye Su Akyol blends Western rock and the sounds of psychedelia with traditional Turkish-influenced melodies. A dizzying and yet strangely addictive combination, imagine finding yourself on a hallucinatory high with a herd of dancing camels in a middle-eastern desert, and this would be the perfect soundtrack.

Gaye is a fresh and tinglingly rebellious underground artist from one of Turkey’s hippest spots on the Black Sea Coast, an area lapping with creativity. Originally trained as an artist, she recently switched her focus to music. Hologram Ĭmparatorluğu is her second album due for release with Glitterbeat Records, and will be her first offering outside of Turkey as she starts to make waves offshore.

The dominating opening bars of the album propel you onto your feet. Singing of the burn of lost love, Gaye’s unfamiliar tongue floats above high-energy string lines and takes you on a journey into a dark Americana world. The first track ‘Hologram’ settles into a trance-like state, where you find yourself fully immersed in the hypnotic melodies of the song. However, the band quickly reel you upright onto your feet with strong, biting guitar hooks and adrenaline-drenched violin riffs. Full of ritualistic ferocious drumming and conversing instrumentation in ‘Akil Olmayinca’ (meaning ‘Without Reason’), the lyrics gently berate those with strong ideas but a lack of conviction. Smooth psychotropic horn lines close in around you as the album then takes a retro turn into the sound palette of a spaghetti western film.

The merging of usually distinct genres has the listener wanting a deeper exploration of this relationship, however, the LP lacks variety and stays put within its comfort zone. The Western components used can feel a little too familiar, and the combined themes aren’t always married cohesively, resulting in a left-over dose of unfulfilled potential.

Despite having room for further development of ideas, the reflective songs are enigmatic and dangerously potent. The album takes on a new perspective and re-contextualises traditional eastern sounds into an infiltrating potion for the ears. Casually listening on would be a crime; simply surrender to the delirium and dance all night under the twirling sky with Gaye Su Akyol and her mythical enchanting band.