Mustafa Ozkent - Genclik Ile Elele
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Mustafa Ozkent
Genclik Ile Elele

Originally released in 1973, this instrumental album by the Turkish madman Mustafa Özkent manages to sound like both an album of that era and ahead of its time at the same time. It's funky as hell, with some clattering breakbeats, scorching melodic organ riffs, and a sense of humor that won't quit. It's sorta like someone crossed the Incredible Bongo Band with some sort of free-spirited middle-eastern rock band. The result is an album that didn't get much love when it was first released, but was eventually unearthed by the crate-digging fool Andy Votel (who runs Finders Keepers and has re-introduced a slew of great records to the mass populace).

The hilarious cover art on the album fits well with the release in that it's both a bit misleading and kinda spot-on as well. On it, a monkey sits in front of a microphone while un-spooling a reel to reel tape machine while the words "Rhythm 'N' Soul," "Blues 'N' Jazz," "Rock 'N' Pop," and "Folc" (sic) beam out in big letters. It's basically telling you to get ready for anything, and while the release isn't quite as varied as those terms suggest, the musicians do throw a whole heck of a lot against the wall in only ten tracks and thirty minutes.

"Uskdar'a Giderken" opens the release and finds some playful organ squealing and ragged guitar riffs bouncing off one another for two minutes while "Burcak Tarlalarl" cracks open the rhythm quotient a little more with a more vigorous drum attack that calls to mind some serious "funky drummer" action. From there, the style doesn't change up a whole lot, but instead Özkent (and musicians) just keep throwing little wrinkles into their sound to keep things interesting.

"Dolana Dolana" drops the aforementioned bongos into the mix while "Lorke" brings their rock roots even more into play as some psychedelic guitars swirl over a dry bass and more rapid-fire drums. Listening to "Ayas," it's easy to imagine that Genclik Ile Elele might have been huge if the obscure release had made it into the hands of Grandmaster Flash or similar DJs closer to the time that it had come out. Given everything that's come since, it's somewhat hard to judge with fresh ears, but this half-hour long release is nonetheless a load of fun.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2006-11-16 20:42:21