Jakuzi’s second album landed last week to the first stirrings of Spring. Hesitant sunlight filtering in through dim skies provided Hata Payı with a more than apt context. Kutay Soyocak's vocals capture a lingering sense of melancholia, whilst furtively reaching for something better and brighter.
Hailing from Turkey, the band are stalwarts of the Istanbul underground. When debut venture Fantezi Müzik was released as a cassette in 2016, very few expected that the record would gain international traction. But in early 2017 a fresh imprint was created via Berlin-based label City Slang. Featuring bonus tracks and a heady take on post-punk, this incarnation immediately became a favourite in global indie scenes.
A surreal imagining of New Order on the Bosporus Strait, Jakuzi take reference from European electronica, with a divisive nod to a Turkish Psych tradition. The language barrier enforces no sense of alienation. Conversely, poeticisms are amplified; made all the more potent for being unreachable.
Although, I do thoroughly endorse watching the accompanying video for track ‘Yangın’ (meaning “Fire”) which features English subtitles and the killer line, “I’m a two-legged nervous breakdown.” Visuals are supplied by the award-winning film producer Serkan Kaptan, (see acclaimed 2013 short Uncle Şeref and His Shadow), who animates a photograph with strange symbolism. An electric blue donkey rocks back and forth on a prayer mat, whilst an anonymous figure stares at the smoking horizon.
Whereas Fantezi Müzik channelled dark and murky introspection, Hata Payı offers up a lighter, pop-y tone. ‘Hâlâ Berbat' resonates with pure Pet Shop Boys, exultant synth chords awarding extravagant euphoria. ‘Bir Sey Olur’ is a personal favourite. Stark bass lines and whirling samples filter a layer of fuzz. This particular song is less a rehash of the ’80s, and more a tremulous mishmash of space-age stargazing and dysphoria. ‘Toz’ is exuberantly decadent, its riff-induced crescendo pulsating with gospel harmonies.
Owing to political unrest, Turkey remains a difficult environment for independent musicians, especially those who wish to disturb societal norms. Jakuzi has been careful not to state a political inclination, but their gigs have famously become space places for Istanbul’s LGBTQ community. In this way, Hata Payı’s dualism between desolate and ecstatic takes on further resonnance. Soyocak describes his connection with their crowd as “an emotional explosion”, a sentiment held in dramatic progression and heart-racing, staccato beats. I’ve already booked my tickets for their UK tour.