Kit Sebastian / Mantra Moderne / Mr Bongo

Kit Sebastian, the duo of Kit Martin and Merve Erdem, recorded Mantra Moderne in what they term “Lo-Fi-Hi-Fi”. Which means using high-end analogue gear, and then bouncing the tracks down to cassette, to achieve an authentic retro sound. Similar to how Lee Perry created his Black Ark magic. They allowed each song a total of twelve hours for completion, performing one-shot mixdowns, and mailed the resulting album to Mr. Bongo. Who picked up the unsolicited demo, and scheduled it for release, without changing a single note. It`s the first time in the label`s thirty year history that they have done anything like this. Which is pretty f-ing amazing, especially for a band’s debut. 

Kit and Merve describe their music as “Anatolian Lo Fi Samba”. Due to the strong Brazilian influence, and the fact that Merve sings some of the songs in Turkish. Senden Baska translates as No One But You, and mixes up not only Tropicalia elements, but also David Axelrod`s tough-drummed Baroque Psyche. Its Surf guitar scratching out a Garage Rock Funk. Kuytu (“Hidden”) comes on like an aerialist from Joe Byrd & The Field Hippies` Metaphysical Circus. Yurudum, Buyudum, Curudum (“I Walked, I Grew, I Decay”) is dramatic Exotica. Driven by distinctive guiro percussion. Transporting Puerto Rican Jibaros to an Arthur Lyman Tiki cocktail lounge. Durma means “Stop”. Its spoken lyric and Liminanas-like groove, punctuated by bursts of Farsifa organ, and a stabbing, repeating, riff. I want to say “brass blasts”, but to be honest I`m not sure if the noise is  horns, or Kit`s fuzz-tone. Either way, the effect had me thinking of the Jazz of Mulatu Astatke, and Steve Reid`s mighty Lions Of Judah. With A Sense Of Grace throws Axelrod in with Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. Pangea adds a balalaika lick. Tyranny 20 swings with the 60s. Making music for Warhol`s silver factory. Go-go dancers dressed in mini-skirts and Mary Quant. The title track could be Stereolab, or Broadcast, arranged by Arthur Verocai, with Kit`s six-strings doubling for a full orchestra. 

Kit Sebastian’s debut single and album are available to pre-order at Mr. Bongo. 

Kit Sebastian Single

Reference Links

Lee Perry


David Axelrod

Joe Byrd

Arthur Lyman


Mulatu Astatke

Lions Of Judah

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg



Arthur Verocai

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