Admission: I’m new to the Turkish psychedelic revivalists Altın Gün, who released their fifth album this year in as many years. The album is called Aşk and it actually dropped back at the tail end of March 2023 on ATO Records here in the US. Today, I want to take a look inside the Indie Exclusive pressing of the band’s new album. Then I’ll dig into the music itself and share why agree with other reviewers online: Altın Gün is quite possibly the world’s best kept secret, at least here in the United States.
Aşk Unboxing Video
The Indie Exclusive pressing comes on Ghostly Orange vinyl, something I showed off in my Fort Worth haul video a few weeks back. It really is one of the coolest pieces of colored wax in my collection. It’s got these ghost-like figures arising out of the misty orange. It seriously looks cool! Take a peek in my unboxing video below:
In my Fort Worth haul video, I also pointed out some similarities between the artwork here on Aşk and that of the Khruangbin and Leon Bridges pair of EPs, Texas Sun and Texas Moon. In the video above, I do a side-by-side comparison as well, but all three have the sun or moon pretty center on the cover with quite symmetrical art around it. While the Texas pair by Khruangbin and Leon Bridges is extremely linear, I’d argue that Altin Gun’s is a bit more artsy, which I prefer.
Ask didn’t really come with anything else in the sleeve, so no cool inserts and the like. Still, well worth it! I love the art, I love the vinyl, and the music is phenomenal. I’ll get to the latter next.
Album Review of Altın Gün’s Aşk
As I noted earlier, back in late March of 2023, Turkish psychedelic revivalists Altın Gün released their fifth album, Aşk, on Glitterbeat throughout the world, and on ATO Records here in the United States.
Altın Gün is a GRAMMY-nominated band out of Amsterdam, Netherlands that creates Turkish psychedelic folk. Often dubbed as Turkish psychedelic revivalists, Wikipedia notes the style of music they create is actually called Anatolian Rock, which is a fusion of psychedelic rock with Turkish folk, that emerged in Turkey during the mid 1960s, but whose origins date all the way back to the 1930s but had its golden age in the 1960s through 1980s.
As often found in Europe, the members aren’t necessarily from Amsterdam or the Netherlands originally. Both of the band’s vocalists are from Turkey, whereas the other four are Dutch.
I mentioned they are a GRAMMY nominated band; that nomination came for their sophomore album Gece in 2019 for the Best World Music Album category.
This is really my introduction to Altın Gün, so I can’t fully speak to what they created prior to this with any comfort or credibility. But what I can do is share my thoughts on Aşk, why I love worldly psychedelic music, and drop a few other albums from my collection that lend to a more expansive view of the psychedelic genre.
In 2018, New Model Radio opened their review of On, the debut album by Altın Gün, with a quote by William Blake: “In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.” They go on to write, “To discover new things you sometimes need someone to open a door between the known and the unknown.”
Music has always been that door for me, providing an opening to an expansion of the mind. From my own inner depths to new philosophical ideas to channeling expressions of emotion, music provides access to — provides a gateway into — the unknown.
And nowhere is that more apparent than in psychedelic rock so removed from our traditional western culture that it forces you to open your mind to new ideas and even heightened planes of existence.
It’s a trait they display quite nicely in the official video for “Rakıya Su Katamam”
Listening to Aşk, I can’t help but feel the constraints and limitations of my worldly experience — I have never truly been overseas outside of the United States — slip away a little. It’s a similar experience to that which I felt upon originally listening to the Japanese psychedelic rock band Kikagaku Moyo, the Japanese noise rock band Ghost, and this compilation here dubbed Those Shocking, Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock And Funk (1970-1978).
Beyond looking to the past for parallels and influencers, what we get with Ask lends well to the modern Neo-psychedelic rock music of today, and it’s a very welcome mashup of musical generations — the draw from historic Anatolian rock, the traces of modern Neo-psych, and push toward something even borderline futuristic but in a very nontraditional sense. Clash Music, who reviewed the album nearly a month prior to its release, went so far as to dub it “Space Country.”
I quite like that!
They also note:
It’s unfamiliar, yet comforting, old-fashioned but out there. Like finding a faded sci-fi paperback in a language, you perhaps don’t speak yourself.Altın Gün: Aşk Album Review [Clash Music, 2023]
To be blunt: If you only want to listen to music sung in English, Aşk and Altın Gün is not for you. You won’t like it. You won’t care. To each their own. But, in my humble opinion, I’d say you’re missing out on something truly great.
Despite their high output of five critically acclaimed albums in as many years, despite their GRAMMY nomination, despite “being immensely popular around the world,” as Line of Best Fit puts it, “Altın Gün are the planet’s best kept secret.”
This band deserves a greater presence and more awareness here in the states. The funky bass lines, the wah-wah of the guitars which add a Middle-Eastern flare, the dualistic dueling male and female vocals — it will all mesmerize you, entrance you, suck you into its greatness.
If you’ve been a stranger to Altın Gün like I have, Aşk is a viable entry point to a truly great band and I implore you to dig in and give it a solid listen.