The ability of music to move you and to make an impact on your life transcends all barriers of language, custom and culture. When you hear the first note its impact is instant, the words that follow are sometimes merely the background to the main event.
I am quite ashamed to admit that I only speak English. It seems to be endemic in my country that we tend, in general, to expect everyone to speak our language rather than expand our horizons and learn others. This could help us in business and in our personal lives. Maybe it is a bit of arrogance and maybe it is part laziness, who knows?
Thankfully, due to its inherent nature, language is no barrier when it comes to enjoying music. Yes, you may lose the impact of the meaning of the lyrics but the voice itself can be considered quite an expressive instrument that conveys the emotion intended anyway.
Around these parts I seem to have become the go-to guy for reviews of Turkish language albums, despite not speaking a word. I enjoy the music and the way the vocal timbre can impart such meaning to the words even though, technically, I don’t understand the language.
This time it is the mercurial talents of Çağrı Raydemir that has come my way via Lady Obscure Music Magazine’s founder and driving force Nem Nol. Çağrı hails from Ankara where he was born in 1981. He picked up a guitar for the first time when he was 13.
After being involved in various band projects, he has concentrated on his solo work, producing four albums ‘1-Oyun’ in 2010, ‘2-Yığın’ in 2011, ‘3-Sen’ last year and now ‘Diğer Yan’, the album that has landed here at Progradar towers and has, already, had quite a few spins! Çağrı has written all the songs, played all the instruments, sang the vocals and done all the mastering, mixing and recording of the album, hell, he even did the artwork! At the moment he is working on his fifth and sixth albums (in English) and production work.
The opener Neden is a laid back affair. Stylish acoustic guitar wends around your musical receptors before Çağrı’s earnest vocal joins in. He has a voice that has a distinctive catch to it, one that drips feeling and emotion. The whole song has a strong melancholy vibe to it, pared back with a despairing note. The tender solo at the end is a thing of frail beauty. Title track Diğer Yan is a short, strident blast at your aural receptors, urgent and fastidious that leads directly into Taraf with its hard rock vibe. A serious riff and underlying funky guitar note drive the song on and the vocals are well matched to the song. This really is a tune to get the toes tapping, that seriously catchy guitar is a highlight throughout.
Vazgeç sees Çağrı branch out into a more blues tinged direction. The guitar playing is seriously precise and very well performed, like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix having a jam, this guy is seriously talented. The vocal, tinged with whiskey and smoke, is excellent. The longest song on the album at nearly five minutes, Ya is a soulful diatribe liberally spiced with lashing of funky, blues infused guitar. A more impassioned vocal hints at discordance somewhere along the line and the chilled out interlude slap bang in the middle is seriously clever stuff. This is late night music to be heard with the lights down low, music that would, perhaps, compliment a sorrowful ambience. The slightly sombre mood is lifted by the balls out rocker that is Bundan Böyle, a crashing riff drags the track laughing and screaming right in front of you. It is a funktastic riff that gets under your skin and is extremely infectious. Çağrı delivers on the vocal front again but, to these ears, it is that fantastic guitar note that always wins out in the end. Versatile in effect and delivery, his fretwork is brilliant and he can move through different styles with ease, sometimes in the same track.
Göz Dağı has an almost discordant, punkish feel to it. The guitars clash and the vocals are coarse and strident, giving an angry tone to the song. The short and sharp guitar interludes (you can’t quite call them solos) hit hard and grab your attention, the whole song is just waiting to bite your head off! That harder blues heavy vibe carries on into Herşey Askıda with a virulent riff and sombre note to the vocal. It is definitely attention grabbing stuff with a heartfelt, almost pleading feel in places. The grave and weighty guitar note imparts its own particular wisdom through some impressive soloing and I feel slightly chastened after the track comes to a close, as if I have been found wanting in some way. O Vakit begins with a solemn riff, taking a more serious approach through the suspenseful feel to the impassioned vocal and hesitant rhythm of the guitar. A sadness pervades all and takes hold of you as you are carried along an emotive musical journey, my heart beating faster as it comes to a close.
Biraz begins with more of the incredible guitar playing, this time with a potent urgency which is only enhanced by the vocals. There is a repeated guitar note that hammers at your conscience, demanding your complicity in the proceedings. The solo winds itself around your psyche and refuses to release you, highly addictive as it is, this is music that you commit to and there is no turning back. Hemen Her Gün returns us to the pared back acoustic feel of the first track. The delicate guitar and touching vocals have an almost otherworldly feel to them and stir the soul as they wash over you. I can see Çağrı delivering this before an appreciative audience in an intimate venue and leaving everyone spellbound.
Once again the music rises above any language barriers and I am left slack-jawed in appreciation of a superb musician at the height of their abilities. Yes, it won’t be to everyone’s taste but, that is the nature of the beast is it not? If you appreciate good music, please have a listen to ‘Diğer Yan’, you will surely love this little gem, Çağrı Reydemir has definitely gained a new supporter here and I shall be looking forward to any future releases for sure!