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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Perfect Duo

"Cultural Mosaics" by Timi, writing from Budapest, Hungary

April 15 was a lucky day for me; I got my hands on the two best Turkish rock albums of 2009, and listened to them immediately. Two different genres - one is nu metal the other is classical rock, but both are inevitable elements of a good rock compilation on your shelf.

maNga's Istanbul

maNga's City of Sadness album coverThe album that jumped to the first place of my all-time favourites' playlist is maNga's Şehr-i Hüzün (The City of Sadness), which contains 16 songs, out of which four are instrumental.

The album tells the story of a day in Istanbul, the city that evokes eternal sadness from the band members. In a recent interview for rock magazine Yüxexes, Ferman Akgül, the singer of maNga admits that when he moved to Istanbul from his home town Ankara, he was shocked by the grief he encountered there, seeing thousand year old monuments being disgraced by graffiti, unbelievable richness at one side of the city while the other side lived in gecekondus (shanty towns, literally: houses built overnight). This Istanbul was the one that inspired the songs, mostly written by Ferman Akgül, guitarist Yağmur Sarıgül and producer Haluk Kurosman.

The video for the first single, "Dünyanın Sonuna Doğmuşum" (Born at the End of Time) is being aired on radio and television channels and was directed by Yon Thomas.

The second video is already ready for the song "Cevapsız Sorular" (Unanswered Questions); the band shot the video in Budapest, Hungary back in August 2008. To the question why they chose this location, Ferman answered that the atmosphere of Budapest and its people reminded them of their home town Ankara and that ever since they played at the Sziget Festival, they wanted to come back to shoot a video at this historically rich and beautiful location.

The album is certainly a hit, with pleasantly heavy guitar riffs, more electronica than in the previous album, vocals affected by arabesk singing and dark, meaningful lyrics. A must-have!

Read more articles on maNga >>

Redd's 21

Redd's 21 album coverThe other album that I have been anxiously waiting for, and which proved to be absolutely worthy of high expectations, is Redd's album titled 21.

As its name might also suggest, it contains 21 songs. Sometimes less is better, but in this case it just really fits the concept perfectly, in which the album tells the story of a man from birth to death.

Here, Redd has created a classical yet refreshing rock album, with those good old Pink Floyd-ish long guitar solos, all on a great musical background and Doğan Duru's crystal clear tenor on touchingly awakening lyrics.

In my opinion, it might not hit as hard as maNga, but when you want a lone moment, just put this CD on, lay back, close your eyes, and dive deep into "21". I promise, you won't regret it.

Sample some more Turkish rock music >>

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