The second album by Istanbul’s clarinet virtuoso Cüneyt Sepetçi is an intense trip into modern Turkish wedding and party music. The foundations go deep into Turkey and the surrounding regions’ history, which each generation innovates and develops. These days, no wedding or circumcision party is complete without the sound of the micro-tonal keyboard. A new addition, these Turkish keyboardists can play between notes, and supply banging club rhythms in wide variety of time signatures.
Sepetçi uses the bedrock of Volkan Sever’s synth insanity as a jumping off point for some truly crazy solos. His fluttering sheets of notes tie knots around the pulsating, fried synthesizer. For this recording session, Sepetçi brought in two drummers, Fatih Özden (tapan) and Samet Sertol (darabouka), to play along with the Turkish drum machine. A dense nest of rhythmic complexity is the result. And to further connect to this music’s rich past, the ancient double reed zurna of Ahmet Özden and Yasar Uçar’s European violin weave ancient melodies and incredible solos throughout.
These musicians are some of the best in Istanbul, and all of these songs are first takes, recorded live with very little planning. Sepetçi essentially leads the band through these complex arrangements as they play them.
In Istanbul, one may see Sepetçi playing for change on Istiklal Caddesi, the famous Turkish walking street at the center of the city. Or one may see him on one of the TV stations, playing Anatolian songs in his inimitable style. He’s even begun touring outside of Turkey—at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, and at concerts in Italy, Beirut, and Israel. “I want to go to America.” He says. “Do they have mosques there?”
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