Anadol claims to be influenced by traditional Turkish pop, “such as Anadolu rock and Arabesk music from this country where I grew up. There is a connection to Folk and also French pop or Flamenco, Middle Eastern melodies and orchestration, Greek adaptations, Kenny G. solos, American guitars.” Having said this, when it comes to her own improvisations, Anadol is miles apart from her professed affinities.
Anadol is not a musician per se, rather “sound artist”. Felicita, her latest collection, is a “project” not an album. If you are thinking of something fluid and groovy along the lines of Derya Yıldırım or Altın Gün you will be disappointed – though Altın Gün have been going in for a bit of abstract electro of late, too.
I first saw Anadol (aka Gözen Atila ) DJ before Derya Yıldırım took the stage at Gretchen shortly before Corona hit in 2020. The Turkish artist – who lived in Berlin for a while and now currently resides in Istanbul – played a set full of funky Anatolian rock, totally worlds apart from the harsh dissonances of her latest solo-project.
Felicita is Anadol’s second excursion. It follows closely on the heels of her last project, Uzun Havalar, which dealt with impressions built around “uzun hava” folk songs, long drawn out improvisations sometimes pitched around a drone. Its most famous practitioner was/is İbrahim Tatlıses. Introspective and maqam-driven, the dirge-like songs are hard to listen to on their own; Anadol deconstructed them further.
This time round Anadol brings together a talented roster of jazz musicians as well as her own synth productions and field recordings for an Istanbul studio session.
A standout – though not the catchiest number – is the first track, which begins arrhythmically and discordantly, with hardly a groove to latch on to. What melody there is keeps swelling into view just beneath the surface, with a vague bassline, like a heart beat coupled with some weird synth lines, until finally a vast cascade of drums kicks in with some electro squiggles and trills to boot. This is followed by some tentative feedback-drenched guitar and heavily distorted voice intoning numbers in German. The track becomes more uptempo, the drums more insistent. The piece culminates in some explosive drum onslaughts. The guitar becomes ever more plangent, and distorted. The drums kick out and we are left with a vague constellation of odd sounds to consider. The number is called “Gizili Duygular”, which means “hidden emotion” – which is about right.