Baba Zula: Anatolian folk, experimental rock, krautrock, psychedelia and…oh, read the review and find out

15th February 2017

Title: XX
Label: Glitterbeat
OK, here’s the recipe. Just pass me the mixing bowl and I’ll chuck the lot in. What do we have here? Well, it’s all from Istanbul for a start and the influences stem from the 60s and 70s (although this band were formed in 1996). The mixture combines Anatolian folk, experimental rock, krautrock, psychedelia and a host of weird beats that are too wacked out to reside in the house for too long: you’ll have to chain these up in the shed outside.


Imagine that lot on one CD. Then repeat the process but strain through an intense dub filter for a second CD ‘bothered’ by such big names as the Mad Professor, Sly & Robbie, Dr Das from the Asian Dub Foundation and Alexander Hacke from Einsturzende Neubauten. As a package brought out of the oven at Gas Mark 7? It’s intense.


At the moment, the band is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Hence, this 2CD package which roams the group’s ensure career but – and get this for an angle – only featuring unreleased tracks with sources stemming from analogue, digital tape, MP3, you name it. I love these guys. Kind to their fans.


The end result is stunning. Quite stunning.


Traditional instruments are here twisted and mangled and diffused, native language vocals are delivered in a foggy, distorted manner, reverb washes the soundstage, drugged-fuelled percussion staggers from one speaker to the next and then, when a guitar strums right on the centre the of the stereo image, it provides a false sense of security because, reality takes a dive from that moment.


Rhythms vary, bend and repeat in unexpected ways but there’s a real catchy element to the entire production that hooks you…somehow. It’s amazing. I’m amazed. I need to grab their discography. Mainly because I know that it will be amazing.