Moğollar – Anadolu Pop (Danses Et Rythmes De La Turquie D’hier À Aujourd’hui) (1971)

Murat Ses – Keyboards

Engin Yörükoğlu – Drums

Cahit Berkay – Guitar, bağlama, tambur, vocals

Mogollar — who were known as Les Mogol in France — released this, their debut album, in 1971, while living in Paris. A mix of traditional Turkish source material and Western beats — especially the bass and piano parts — the effects are spellbinding throughout this recording, which is all instrumental. Think of this as the Middle Eastern equivalent of Duke Ellington’s “Far East Suite” or John McLaughlin’s nearly contemporaneous experiments in the same direction with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The difference is that Mogollar plunge into the subtleties of the Eastern material more successfully, and meld the material better, possibly because they had little to prove beyond making a bold debut album — whether they would ever get any sales or airplay out of it seems to have been far from anyone’s thinking. The irony of it was that, first in France and then across Europe, and even in their native Turkey, the record was flooded with positive reviews, and it received the coveted Grand Prix du Disque — a truly prestigious award, more so than the Grammy — by the Charles Cros Academie in Paris. The 2003 CD reissue offers a crisp, clear mastered sound and vivid textures all around, from Hasan Sel’s rock-solid electric bass to Murat Ses’ surging, pulsing keyboards.

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