As the unrest and police brutality in Turkey continues, I thought it fitting to shed a little light on the country’s burgeoning underground/alternative music scene. Over the past month or so I have been immersing myself in as much Turkish music as I could find, from the brilliant out there psychedelic / funk from the 60s & 70s to the modern Turkish underground electronic scene. At the centre of the modern inversions of Turkish urban music is Tektosag Records and their sub-label, launched last year, Davalun Sesi.
Davalun Sesi, which translates as “Sound of the Drum”, focuses on Turkish beatmakers with a leaning towards instrumental hip-hop a la Brainfeeder / Soulection. The label’s two free-to-download compilations (Davulun Sesi Volume I & Volume II) offer a comprehensive introduction to the country’s beats scene. Though essentially focussed on hip-hop/beats it is a diverse selection with percussion/sample heavy refixes of traditional Turkish music sitting alongside Californian sun drenched synth swirls and crunching Trap beats. I was taken aback by the real quality and originality of these producers – one of the few 10+ track free-to-download compilations that is consistently good and surprising.
Alongside the compilations, Davulun Sesi puts on club nights and has also released 13 EPs from Turkish producers, all available for free download – the latest from beatmaker Da Poet:
Davulun Sesi is really pushing young Turkish artists, collaborating with graphic designers and offering an international platform for the exciting and fresh sounds that are coming out of the country. It is also great to see the people behind labels like Tektosag showing solidarity and supporting the protestors in Taksim square and beyond.
I end with a rather symbolic article from Taksim Square which has become something of an iconic moment amidst the protests. In an inspiring and touching move, last Wednesday, Davide Martello, a German concert pianist wheeled his piano into the square and began playing free, 14 hour recitals for the protestors. As the police moved in to clean out the square once more with water cannons, tear gas and handcuffs, they also confiscated Martello’s piano, silencing opposition and putting an end to the music.