Islandman, Okay Temiz & Muhlis Berberoglu / Direct-To-Disc Sessions / Night Dreamer 

Turkish trio Islandman team-up with countrymen Okay Temiz and Muhlis Berberoglu to deliver a dynamite direct-to-disc session for Night Dreamer. 

Temiz is a legendary percussionist who has been recording and performing since the mid-1960s. Collaborating with countless global jazz greats, but perhaps most famously with South African musician Johnny Dyani. The rediscovery of Okay’s 1975 solo single, Denizaltı Rüzgarları, arguably kicked off the on-going craze of digging for Turkish psyche funk. He brings to the table decades of experience and an armoury of home-made instruments. Including a flute made from bathroom piping, whose rasping emits wildlife-like whistles, and adds an Amazonian jungle ambience, until, inevitably, his playful patterns and Berberoglu’s strum become frantic. 

Berberoglu is a young virtuoso of the saz, a tradition long-necked lute. Throughout the recordings he switches between the bağlama and cura, the equivalent of guitar and ukulele, or mandolin. Often it’s Muhlis who’s leading the way. Setting up Middle Eastern and North African melodies – part Istanbul bazaar, part Tuareg blues – from which his fellow players build chunky, chugging grooves, and delirious dervish dancers. The live mix catching elements in echo and delay. His, in places, almost Bluegrass picking, Robbie Kreiger-esque bent bottleneck notes, blurring cultural boundaries. This is something, I think, that sits at the heart of the Islandman project. Combining the ancient and modern. Preserving their national heritage, tracing their music back to Central Asia, while at the same time proving that we all share a common root. Something that has evolved across the outfit’s three Music For Dreams long-players to date. Is the sound they make exotic, cosmic, or Balearic? 

Irrespective of pigeon-holes, the musicianship on display is consistently incredible. The tightness of the jams recalling prime CAN. Strange stringed things duelling, in brilliant buzzing counterpoint. The drums and bass a tribal thump. Temiz`s timpani a shamanic ritual. Washed in kosmische electronics, magnificent Mellotron, and trippy treated laughter. The vocals a possessed shriek.

The final track, Yayla Yollari, is a 17, 18 minute epic that begins with twanging berimabu variations, and popping drum machine percolations, before whipping up a wicked wah-wah storm. Showered in bubbling, effervescent sound-effects – a la Nicolson & Weatherall’s remix of Primal Scream’s Come Together. Building to a head-banging bridge, then at 8 minutes in, it suddenly stops… Re-starting, the saz chopping out an urgent clipped rhythm, dropping to crashing cymbals, giving way to scurrying circuitry. These psyche rock shenanigans turning wholly hypnotic, and totally trance-inducing, as everything reunites and locks. 

Islandman Direct​-​to​-​Disc Sessions

Islandman, Okay Temiz and Muhlis Berberoglu’s Direct-To-Disc Sessions will be released on March 10th, via Night Dreamer. 

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