So we have on one hand the library scene blooming again after 4 decades, peaking with collections like “The Library Music Film” (by prolific cats Shawn Lee and Paul Elliott) and “Unusual Sounds” both released on 2018.
Additionally, we have lots of classic library record reissues, happening day after day, and a lot of new releases, drawing inspiration from that period (did you check Natural Yogurt Band’s latest release) or even revealing labels searching around library sound with Drumetrics being a great example.
On the other hand, we have the Turkish revival happening as we speak with releases such as Altin Gun’s On and Gece, in 2018 and 2019 respectively, also this year’s Kit Sebastian’s Mantra Moderne and the first-time-ever release of legendary Grup Doğuş album.
Sven Wunder seems to come out of the blue, but thinking all of the above, he totally takes advantage of all this mayhem of reissues and releases, to present his debut album, Doğu Çiçekleri, standing between the library sound and Anadolu Rock.
A collection of 13 compositions with heavy-beat drumming, full of wild eastern vibes, artistically woven in a very tight textile of upbeat sounds that brings in mind Anatolian images and scents of another time.
All the tracks are named after a plant (Dogu Cicekleri, after all, means Anatolian Flowers) which can be found throughout -but not only- Mediterranean.
I’m gonna try some guessing here, around the structure of each and every song, so please if you have some more info feel free to share! That’s the first time I’m trying something like this, so be kind!
1) Black Iris, the opening track, starts with a lethargic keyboard-built atmosphere when the hard-kicking beat strikes along with some sitar playing, ending with tabla.
2) Tulip, on the other hand, is more straight forward, starting with keys-synths again but with the oud breaking into almost immediately, leading the main rhythm section. There is a lot going on mostly from the middle of the track, when a groovy duet of oud and keys takes place, nodding to some of the greatest east-inspired library stuff.
3) While Magnolia starts by building an atmosphere with dirty keys until the oud strikes again to lead the rhythm. Right after the middle of the track, it transforms in Goblin-ish synth-driven havoc (it also brought to my mind the magnificent debut album of Broken Lamps), just before the drum outburst to the end.
4) Lotus dives from the top on a swirling oud rhythm. A slow-to-mid tempo fuzzy keyboard takes place along with a steady drumbeat until the oud starts again. From the middle of the track until the end, turns to a proper almost-fast dancefloor menace, with the main theme repeating itself, before and after the oud improvisational part!
5) Oh boy! Lily is a massive cosmic library track, based on keyboards-synths with a groovy drum beat backing it. Pure gold!
6) Red Rose is another one typical example of a library track… Who am I kidding, it’s a record in the vein of library as I stated earlier, so it’s kind of standard I guess! Anyway, another great atmospheric track incorporating more of Italian dirty funk, jazz, prog than Anadolu elements.
7) Hibiscus is glamorous and captivating! The opening brings in mind a rather mysterious alternative version of the Lotus theme. A hazy uplifting rhythm artifact nodding again towards the east.
8) Magnolia Reprise, on the no. 8, suggesting a totally new approach, with the leading rhythm played by clarinet and backed by -probably- a trumpet. Drum re-arrangement gives also a dirty-funk Italian feeling on the overall result.
9) Morning Glory has a typical library-inspired opening with variations on the main rhythm with oud and a throbbing drumbeat when the oud tries some improvisational taqsims that fades to a keyboard accompaniment. All that again with a heavy drum beat on the background and just in 2:18 minutes. Amazing!
10) Unearthy bass playing and steady drum break till the guitar (or is it the oud) hits with the lead rhythm. Again, on Chamomile the east element takes a step back for a more Mediterranean sound.
11) Hyacinth has pleasantly surprised me by bringing a Balkan feeling in the sound. It probably is the most uplifting dance-oriented track of the record, incorporating much more brass, while the keyboard marching along with the drums and the guitar.
12) Daisy gives a spaghetti-western feeling on the opening, which remains throughout the track. There’s a standard breakbeat going on the background, getting enriched with some additional synth-effects.
13) Gilboa Iris is the closing track of the record. It starts in a cinematic atmosphere with the keys-synths bringing in my mind the Budos Band or even The Menahan Street Band. Once again there are some brasses in the rhythm section, used however in a funkier-afrobeat way. Right before the end, a woman’s lustful voice adds to the groovy and calmness sense that was building up on the track.
Little is known about Sven Wunder and the band members, so I guess anonymity holds a special aspect of their image. The most important thing, after all, is and always has been music, so better keep it that way, in terms of engaging in the actual compositions instead of the personalities.
In conclusion, Doğu Çiçekleri is a brilliant debut album, detailed and carefully structured, respectful to its special features and I’m already looking forward to their follow up output.