- Gençlik ile elele
- Evren Plakları
Compared to what he has done during his long career, Ankara based Turkish composer, arranger, conductor, producer and guitarist Mustafa Özkent is still relatively unknown to the big world. He started his career as early as in 1960 in a pop group called The Teenagers. At some point in the early 1970s he formed his own orchestra, simply named Mustafa Özkent ve Orkestrası (Mustafa Özkent and Orchestra). In 1973 the first album Gençlik Ile Elele (in English Hand in hand with youth) was released and the second album Elif was released in 1975. They also released two 45s (in 1972 and 1974). During that time in 1975 – 1976 Özkent was studying in the Academie D’e music D’ixelles in Brussels. For a short period in 1976 his close friend and a fellow Turkish musician Baris Manço was also spending time in Brussels. In 1976 he was also working in a big band for the Montreal Olympic Games as an arranger and guitarist. During his career Özkent has been an in-demand session guitarist, arranger and conductor and has worked closely with numerous Turkish musicians and band including his close friends Baris Manço, Okay Temiz and Mogollar. And he has still been active throughout the 2000s.
For his new orchestra, he called in organist Umit Aksu (later of Aksu Orkestrası fame), second guitarist Cahit Oben as well as two drummers and a percussionist (not mentioned anywhere). Özkent himself played the lead guitar naturally. In 1972 the freshly founded independent label Evren had heard about Özkent and decided to give him a shot to do an fully instrumental album wit mixture of jazz, psychedelic rock, funk, traditional Anatolian sounds and new stereo effects. The album was recorded with a live take but some effects were added later.
In those days, outside the core of Western musical culture, an instrumental album with somehow psychedelic improvisations was never called “psychedelic”, more labelled as A Go-Go, often dance rhythm related item. Acid jazzrock was more often one influence for such music.
Gençlik Ile Elele is clearly the funkiest of all anatolian rock albums that ever came to my ears. With it’s heavy drumming, hard grooving organs, funky Anatolian melodies and of course the large amount of breaks it belongs to my all time favorites. The album starts with a heavy midtempo funker “Üsküdar’a Giderken. It’s followed by the massive “Burçak Tarlaları” that starts with a huge break and continues as a heavy Anatolian funk track with some traditional melodies and psychedelic electric guitar work. There’s even an another heavy break in the end. Next one is called “Dolana Dolana”. It’s an uptempo heavy funker with some electric guitar and organ melodies and a huge break in the beginning. Then comes “Karadır Kara”, another midtempo track that starts with a percussive break and the same break pops up few times during the track. Next one is again a midtempo psychedelic funk track called “Emmioğlu”, starting with a break and having the heavy electric guitars there too. The first track on side b is “Çarşamba”, again a heavy midtempo funker. Next up is one of my favorites, “Zeytinyağlı”, an uptempo breakbeat funker with electric guitar melodies and short breaks every now and then. Then comes another midtempo one called “Silifke” with sound very similar to the rest of the album. Fourth track on side b is “Lorke”, another uptempo track with a slightly different and more straight forward beat than the others. Last one is the very hectic, almost batucada sounding “Ayaş”. And for the last words, the album cover.. what’s happening in there?