Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Reissue; Mustafa Ozkent ve Orkestrasi; Genclik ile Elele

This Turkish album first came out in 1973. The zany cover art (a monkey messing around with a reel to reel tape recorder) suggests this is a lighthearted endeavour, but the album contains some serious funk that holds its own against the relentless grooves of American funk gods like the Meters. Despite this release being so funky, this decidedly western-sounding record never strays too far from Mustafa Ozkent's Anatolian musical heritage. The guitar player started performing in Ankara in 1960 and was a well respected musician by the time this record came out. It apparently didn't sell particularly well, but Andy Votel at the Finders Keepers label was sufficiently knocked out by a copy he found that his label has recently reissued this lost slice of Eastern funk.
The record is just over half an hour long and there are no extras on this package. Ten brief instrumentals cram as much funk as possible into a half hour on wax. From the opening cut, the upbeat, almost Surf-like "Uskudar", through merciless drum breaks on tunes like "Dolana" and the pounding percussion throughout the record, the funk comes on relentlessly. Psychedelic guitar licks abound, but they never hide the Turkish roots of Mustafa Ozkent's music. The bubbling organ playing through out the record sometimes comes close, infusing a sixties Go-Go feel to the record, but Ozkent manages to gel east and west like few musicians. The last track fades out during a pounding drum solo, leaving any funk fan hungry for more. This album is well worth checking out.

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