22/03/2022Gözen Atila AKA Anadol Releases Positively Perplexing Synth-Led New Album On Pingipung Records

Judging a record by its cover is not always the worst thing. Neither is taking a closer look at it and trying to immerse yourself into the assumed conceptual environment of what you are about to listen to. Naturally, we approached this album with a certain bias. Having previously reviewed and raved about Anadol's 2019-released album "Uzun Havalar", we couldn't wait to see, what she had intricately pieced together this time around. 

The album cover is a photograph of what seems to be a Turkish elementary school recital. A young girl in a flamboyant turquoise dress is seated on a sparsely yet festively decorated stage, a wreath of white flowers in her long dark hair and a miniature Casio keyboard positioned in her lap, playing to an audience of peers and parents. Her eyes are cast downwards, one hand holding the small instrument, the other about to play another note.

"Felicita" is the name of Gözen Atila aka Anadol's latest full-length, which translates to 'happiness', an emotion that has become increasingly elusive these days. But don't be fooled: As much as achieving happiness seems to have become the ultimate life goal and instant gratification reigns supreme, this particular album would much rather "explore the complexities and contradictions within such an emotion" by ways of sound.

The five tracks on "Felicita" feature a positively perplexing compendium of steadily evolving, undulating sonic narratives, "eschewing convention and predictability along the way, to result in a kaleidoscopic experience." No doubt experimental, there is nonetheless an inherent warmth to Anadol's meticulous oeuvres, welcoming listeners to her personal recital that is very much 'show, don't tell'.

Juxtaposing sound bites, vocal snippets and drum loops with live cuts of actual jazz musicians from Istanbul playing over her synth productions and field recordings, Anadol welds "woozy psychedelic excursions" that obliterate one's sense of time, creating an "immersive ambience" that is "occasionally disconcerting" yet also extraordinarily evocative. “Whether it is traditional or contemporary, we need to be authentic,” she says. “I don't claim that I am authentic, but this is what I want to achieve.” 

And so we return to the young girl on the stage, holding her mini keyboard and, quite simply, just doing her thing in an expression of a) deep concentration, seemingly oblivious to her surroundings and focussed on playing her tune, or b) a certain ludic conviction that there can be no wrong notes, or c) earnest defiance, believing that no matter what happens or how nervous she is, this is her time to shine.

That being said, please welcome Anadol back to the stage, performing her rendition of "Felicita", out now on Pingipung Records.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom