Baba Zula - Derin Derin LP
BaBa ZuLa, the legendary ensemble from Istanbul, have brilliantly established themselves over the past two decades as the missing link between Turkish psych, krautrock, and dub-wise stylings. Derin Derin is the thrilling follow-up to their acclaimed retrospective XX, and finds the band more experimental and expansive than ever. On Derin Derin, BaBa ZuLa's first studio album since 2014, they create their art with beautiful eloquence and stinging passion. It takes wing and soars high; the instrumental portion of the disc grew out of music BaBa ZuLa were asked to record for a documentary about falcons. It grew, little by little, drawing together the elements that have been the heart of the band's sound throughout its existence: the rich wildness of Turkish psychedelia and the blinding, pure emotion that runs through traditional Anatolian music, tempered with the constant musical questing of the band's inspiration, krautrock pioneers Can, and the electro-dub experiments BaBa ZuLa has undertaken with producer Mad Professor. It's an utterly 21st century sound, where the voices are sometimes submerged, sometimes screaming loud to breaking through the noise. "U Are the Swing" is a track that carries particularly profound echoes of Can's late drummer, Jaki Liebezeit. The drum part was played by Ertel's children on a kit Liebezeit himself had modified, and Liebezeit sat in with BaBa ZuLa on many occasions. Those rhythms form the bedrock of BaBa ZuLa's sound, just as they were the foundation of the early Turkish psychedelia of the 1960s and '70s that has been a lifelong influence on Ertel. Psychedelia seeped into his soul and helped to frame his vision for BaBa ZuLa when he formed the band in 1996. And throughout their existence, they've kept their unique mix of electric saz and electric oud to give that double fretboard attack that's so markedly not Western. The psychedelic sound of BaBa ZuLa also feeds quite organically into dub. On "Eagle Got Wolf," for instance, phrases and riffs echo and hang suspended in the air as the bass dives and swoops, while plucked notes appear, only to flicker away again. Derin Derin melds the past into the present and sends it flying into the future. Derin Derin is fearless music. It's the truth. And there is hope.