Mustafa Özkent Ve Orkestrası – Gençlik Ile Elele (1973)

capa cópiaHello people! Last Wednesday (08/10) a novelty happened and we would like to share with everyone, Gary Sullivan, our friend from Bodega Pop made ​​a radio-webcast program of 3 hours, highlighting the qualities of the Interstellar Medium, along with an extensive tracklist. We wanted to thank Gary and each one who participated and supported during the transmission, the link for you to hear the show is available here.

This was an important step to our history, we ALWAYS count on your opinion! And for those who haven’t yet been familiarized with the page or arrived just now, there’s the About to give you some directions, without further ado let’s get to our entry!

Let’s go to our music:

Ferdi Özbeğen Orkestrası, 60's
Ferdi Özbeğen Orkestrası, 60’s

The Turkish Rock movement is believed to have begun in the late-50’s with the arrival of The Shadows and developed further during the next decade with the increasing popularity of Western music acts. With the coming of The Beatles, small bands sprung up everywhere, this triggered the national newspaper Hΰrriyet to organize a national talent contest under the title Altin Mikrofon (golden mic).

In the ’60s, the youth especially living in big cities were very receptive to new pop music coming from abroad but understandably they also were far from the social impact that this music brought, or we may say a middle-class minority who knew English were aware. Meanwhile, there was unrest amongst young people which translated into an exciting political climate, not fed by rock music exclusively.

Arda Uskan, John & Yoko, Erkin Koray
Arda Uskan, John & Yoko, Erkin Koray

Of all the musical/cultural scenes that happened along the ’60s, psychedelia was the most effective one in Turkey; it started one year later than the USA and Europe but lasted much longer, this music brought a new dimension to Turkish listeners, while the rest of the nation was happy with its oriental overtones, the Turkish music fans found that it was what they felt inside really! So psychedelia influence was at a much different scope than it had on other countries, by 1969 all codes on the birth of a big rock music scene were set and Turkish rock had five more years of prolific kingdom.

After 1975-76, the scene took its toll with changing political, musical and social climates and before 1979 came it was all over (!). The golden age of Anadolu Rock was marked by artists famous until today, such as Baris Manço, Cem Karaca, Edip Ackbyram, Ersen. Bands like Mogallar, 3 Hurel, Erkin Koray and Selda Bagcan.

Baris Manço's Cockade
Baris Manço’s Cockade

Let’s go to our artist:

Mustafa Özkent was a lesser-known but significant figure on the Ankara music scene until his music belatedly found a receptive audience in the West four decades after!

A talented guitarist who was known to modify the design of his instruments to create unusual tonal qualities, he earned a reputation as a gifted maverick and by the dawn of the 70’s was in demand as a session player, arranger, and producer, creating music that fused psychedelicpop and soul influences with jazz-like improvisations.

Mustafa Özkent
Mustafa Özkent

In 1972, he partnered with Evren Records, a Turkish label known for its audiophile recording techniques, Ozkent booked time at Istanbul’s finest recording facilities, and with a mighty team of musicians, he began recording new material dominated by extended percussion jams, hard-grooving organ lines, and funky wah-wah guitars.

The resultant Lp, Genclikle Elele (Hand in Hand with Youth), sounded as if it were designed for hip-hop DJs in search of funky breaks even though it was cut years before the South Bronx scene began to flower! The British Finders Keepers label reissued its masterpiece in 2006, he remains active in Turkey, releasing Dijital Guitar in 2005!

Let’s go to our album:

Cem Karaca's Article
Cem Karaca’s Article

Mustafa went on to invent specially treated guitars with additional frets enabling him to replicate unique notes similar to a saz or lute allowing the musician to emulate the sound of Hendrix’s style wah-wah and fuzz while retaining the versatility of the traditional Eastern sensibilities which ran through many young Istanbul’s veins.

Unlike Zafer Dilek’s entry and its adapted Belly Dance, this time the Turkish folklore really receives a spicy electric treatment, the groove is so infectious that I really doubted it could have come from Turkey. I simply won’t say much about this masterpiece, an instrumental album like Gençlik Ile Elele is virtually unattainable!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Dolana Dolana and Ayaş.

좋은 여행!

Tracks Include:

A1 Üsküdar’a Giderken

A2 Burçak Tarlaları

A3 Dolana Dolana

A4 Karadır Kara

A5 Emmioğlu

B1 Çarşamba

B2 Zeytinyağlı

B3 Silifke

B4 Lorke

B5 Ayaş

Credits

  • Arranged, Performed: Mustafa Özkent
  • Guitar: Cahit Oben, Mustafa Özkent
  • Organ (Hammond): Umit Aksu

All songs Traditional/Anonymous

  • Recorded at Grafson studios, Istanbul.
  • Originally released on LP in 1973Evren Plakları, TÜ 1003

Finders Keepers Records ‎– FKR010LP

Moğollar, Today
Moğollar, Today

Léonie – Le Jardin Anglais / Mozart (1973)

capa cópiaAnother brief entry, as we previously talked about Léonie and its (surprising) short career, based on 45 singles, started in the late-60’s amidst the french yé-yé scene. The dossier from this unknown singer can be checked in Hero Culte blog, don’t miss out the detective work from tiny noggin and other curiosities about French stars!

Let’s go to our album:

This time, she is backed up with the mighty arrangements/compositions by the number one french maestro Jean Claude Vannier. Léonie’s peculiar sensual voice stands out on its 5th release, she knows how to be pop and cult simultaneously.

A side has a characteristic (slower) charleston piano/xylophone pace, played by Vannier, along with strings and wizardry guitars in a vintage delicate atmosphere.

B side are my favorite, this fuzzy psych ballad has a magic cadency that sticks to the head, an example of how you can be pop without neglecting good aesthetic choices!

Léonie (Martine Collet)
Léonie (Martine Collet)

I really would like to count on better quality rips, but the fact is none of her singles were duly re-released on CD, this and other entries are a good invitation to meet the B-side on what is called Pop Jerk, somewhat ahead from the naive (early) works of France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, CélineFrançoise HardySéverine, and many others.

We’ll leave for an upcoming entry, more details about the yé-yé scene and its powerful independent girls, for now, keep it up with this lovely obscure pearl.

Haerenga Pai!

Tracks Include:

A Le Jardin Anglais (J.C. Vannier, Roda Gil)

B Mozart (J.C. Vannier)

Credits

  • Orchestra: Orchestre J.C. Vannier
  • Photography: Thierry Vincent
  • Producer: Thierry Vincent
  • Published: Editions Suzelle (A)
  • Published: Editions Labrador (B)
  • Distributed: Discodis
  • Printed: Dillard et Cie. Imp. Paris

Les Disques Motors ‎– MT 4030

Sylvie Vartan & Françoise Hardy
Sylvie Vartan & Françoise Hardy

Ofege – Try and Love (1973)

cover

Nigeria. The British colonized the country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, setting up administrative structures and law while recognizing traditional chiefs. Nigeria became independent in 1960. Several years later, it had civil war as Biafra tried to establish independenceMilitary governments in times of crisis have alternated with democratically elected governments (two military juntas through the 70s and 80s). Known as ‘the Giant of Africa’, is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous nation in the world!

Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who mostly live in the south and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the north. A minority of the population practice traditional and local religions, including the Igbo and Yoruba religions. Its oil reserves have brought great revenues to the country, being the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter.

Lagos Market
Lagos Market

It was there that a complex combination of traditional styles (Yoruba, Jazz, Highlife, Funk, and Chants) was created: the Afrobeat.

Both Nigeria and Ghana has its share on the creation, but is certainly through Fela Anikulapo Kuti that the rhythm became known, famous and multiplied; hand in hand with political activism and big band formations, the social criticism of his lyrics always was a tool for social changes!

His message can be described as confrontational and controversial, which can be related to the political climate of most of the African countries in the 1960s, many of which were dealing with political injustice and military corruption while recovering from the transition from colonial governments to self-determination.

We will turn to the subject soon with a dedicated post to the genre, its characters and   (of course) the black president. Curiously today’s album got no Afrobeat influences, it can be described as an Afro Rock with tons of psychedelia, instead of horn sections or heavy percussion we got a usual rock combo. Shall we?!

Revolutionary Gesture
Fela Kuti’s Revolutionary Gesture

Let’s go to our history:

Our friends from Afrobeat, Afrofunk, Afrojazzz, Afrorock, African Boogie had already made a dossier about our juvenile stars, but we’ll try to filter all these info. Credited as The Ofege Phenomenon, they were formed in a 70s school from St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos. His music was largely influenced by the guitar solos of Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck and the criss-cross rhythms of Osibisa (Ghanaian band formed in London). At home they were influenced by the music of BLO, Monomono, and Ofo the Black Company, the greatest rock acts from the period.

Recorded while the band members were still in high school (average age of 16), Ofege’s debut album Try And Love was originally recorded and released in 1973. Due to their vibrant combo of sweet harmonies, hooks & fuzz, they would become one of the most legendary Nigerian groups of all time, with expressive sales and national stardom.

However, with only four albums released until 1978 and no recognition outside Nigeria, Ofege’s short career would only be rediscovered with the turn of the century.

Monomono
Monomono

The renewed interest and world compilations about psychedelic music brought them to international acknowledgment, releases like Love, Peace and Poetry and Nigeria Rock Special has in its tracks different moments from the band (early psych, late funk/disco) and should be properly enjoyed.

Let’s go to our album:

Always when it comes to Africa, we immediately think of Afrobeat or traditional music, not always based on electrical resources. This is a very common ethnocentric view that minimizes or excludes the great musical accomplishments of this continent.

The Afro Rock pioneered in the late 60s (Osibisa, Assagai) subverted this condition leading the western pop into a new tinge of elements, the boys from Ofege were aware of all this when they decided to make a band.

Lagos Slums
Lagos Slums

The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Gbe Mi Lo, a wild and uncompromising instrumental tune with bits of funky elements that are dissolved into a psychedelic effect, the overall guitar work here are insanely great, with heavy fuzz and swinging rhythm.

And Lead Me On a closing track with naive lyrics and straight rock pace, delivering some raw solos and the usual beat that accompanies the whole album. The ingenuity allied with the inexperience of its members makes this album a real treasure.

Buon Viaggio!

Tracks Include:

A1 Nobody Fails

A2 Whizzy Ilabo

A3 Gbe Mi Lo

A4 Try And Love

B1 It’s Not Easy

B2 Ofege

B3 You Say No

B4 Lead Me On

EMI Nigeria – NEMI (LP) 0032

Credits

  • Bass: Paul Alade
  • Drums: M-Ike Meme
  • Rhythm Guitar: Felix Inneh
  • Lead Guitar: Berkley Jones
  • Lead Vocals: Melvin Ukachi
  • Vocals: Felix Inneh, M-Ike Meme, Paul Alade
  • Lyrics by: Melvin Ukachi
  • Written by: M-Ike Meme
  • Producer: Odion Iruoje
  • Engineer (Recording): Emmanuel Odenusi, Kayode Salami