GÖKÇEN KAY­NATAN

Ret­ro­spec­tive cel­e­bra­tion of the found­ing fa­ther of Turk­ish elec­tronic mu­sic.

Prog - - Limelight - JB

Gökçen Kay­natan is a per­fect ex­am­ple of an artist who has had a pro­found ef­fect on the mu­si­cal devel­op­ment of his home­land yet who re­mains prac­ti­cally un­heard of in the wider world.

Born in Is­tan­bul in 1939, Kay­natan first came to promi­nence as a teenage rock’n’roller, in­clud­ing a stint play­ing along­side Turkey’s very own rock gui­tar god Erkin Ko­ray. But it was his fas­ci­na­tion with new tech­nol­ogy and in­cor­po­rat­ing elec­tronic sounds into mu­sic that re­ally fired his imag­i­na­tion.

In 1972, he got his hands on an EMS Syn­thi AKS and never looked back, go­ing on to pi­o­neer a po­tent blend of Ana­to­lian kos­mis­che. Yet de­spite a rep­u­ta­tion for in­no­va­tive live per­for­mances, his long-stand­ing dis­trust of the record industry meant he pro­duced just two sin­gles high­light­ing his unique sound, both of which are in­cluded here.

How­ever, from the mid-70s, his mu­sic could reg­u­larly be heard on Turkey’s first tele­vi­sion chan­nel, TRT 1, where he used his bat­tery of elec­tronic in­stru­ments to pro­duce a con­stant stream of theme tunes, jin­gles and in­ci­den­tal mu­sic, and that’s where much of the ma­te­rial on this ex­cel­lent col­lec­tion comes from.

Do anın Ötesi bril­liantly en­cap­su­lates Kay­natan’s aes­thetic, lonely synth notes drift­ing against some bit­ingly grungy gui­tar while a prim­i­tive drum ma­chine is pushed to its lim­its (watch the fan­tas­tic footage of him play­ing this on YouTube).

The scratchy aquatic funk of Evren has the same mav­er­ick spirit of Can (serendip­i­tously, Kay­natan stud­ied in Ger­many in the early 70s), while the in­dus­trial li­brary mu­sic of Cen­net Dünyamız sounds like Bo Did­dley played by a par­tic­u­larly louche robot.

Es­sen­tially a one-man Ra­dio­phonic Work­shop cre­at­ing his own sonic uni­verse, Kay­natan’s mu­sic re­flects a time when tech­nol­ogy of­fered a happy – if slightly off-kil­ter – vi­sion of the fu­ture. His work was a key mod­ernising in­flu­ence in Turkey’s pop­u­lar cul­ture and its self-def­i­ni­tion as a for­ward-look­ing sec­u­lar so­ci­ety.

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