Many artists actually released critically acclaimed albums in 2017 in various genres from pop to rap. Some of these being; recently released from his prison cell Ezhel (Müptezhel), a band getting closer to madness more with every album Büyük Ev Ablukada (Fırtınayt), psychedelic rockers with their own language Gevende (Kırınardı).
But there were definitely big players in 2018 as well, so I gathered these on a list for you.
Indie & Alternative
Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz - Akustik Travma
The indie and alternative music scene in Turkey has been booming since the 90s and there has been a growing interest in bands with funny names, contemporary sounds and weird lyrics. An incredible band formed in 2011, and became popular with their soft, acoustic sound. They released their first album in 2013. This was right when 90s kids and teens of Turkey were having their first fight against an increasingly totalitarian regime, so Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz became the voice of a depressed generation.
Favourite tracks: Sandal, Bodrum, 2013, Kadıköy Kızı
Peyk - Lay Lay Lom
Peyk is an underground rock band that has such a unique sound, I can’t only classify them as a rock band. They have completely different genre influences in each of their songs; combining the likes of blues, reggae and in this album, they even included rap. I believe their rich sound comes from years of experience, as the band has been making music since 90s.
Favourite tracks: Uyan (To Minore Tis Avgis) - inspired by Greek musician Giorgos Zambetas, Nobody
Pop & Electronica
Edis - An
After Tarkan, Turkey’s leading male pop artists haven’t been able to surpass his success, but Edis surely possesses the “megastar” qualities found in international music scene. So much that, he is rumoured to be planning to do a duet with Dua Lipa.
Favourite tracks: Sevişmemiz Olay, Roman
Yıldız Tilbe’nin Yıldızlı Şarkıları
Every Turkish music listener knows how an incredible songwriter Yıldız Tilbe can be. This album covers a list of her best songs sang by new artists such as the young Aleyna Tilki, Edis, Ceylan Ertem, Berkay, Simge and Merve Özbey.
Favourite tracks: Delikanlım, Yalnız Çiçek, Buz Kırağı
Mabel Matiz - Maya
Mabel Matiz truly established a new vibe in the Turkish pop music scene with his latest album, combining Anatolian pop and Turkish folk sounds with electronica and synth pop influences. This album is probably going to be hailed as a classic and will influence other artists. It is difficult to bridge western music with Turkish, Anatolian and Middle Eastern sounds without underlining the differences between them but this album truly captures the harmony the two continents actually have between each other.
Favourite tracks: Mendilimde Kırmızım Var, Fırtınadayım, Ya Bu İşler Ne, Comme un Animal (Yes he perfectly mixes French and Turkish)
Rock & Psychedelic
Altın Gün - On
Bringing back 70s Turkish psychedelic rock, this band is feeding from nostalgia and rightly so. Originally from Amsterdam, the band wants you to say “As bayrakları as” (which is a patriotic internet-speak referring to putting up a Turkish flag out of your window when there is a moment that makes you proud of Turkey).
Favourite tracks: Goca Dünya, Cemalım
Islandman - Rest in Space
So I actually had Agit on my playlist for ages, and never realised it was made by a Turkish music producer. Man how pleased was I to discover that later. Islandman is actually the solo project of Tolga Böyük. Perfect to listen at any time, Rest in Space is a cheery yet softly melodic and psychedelic album. Definitely one of my favourite albums on the list, as it not only creates an experience but a journey throughout. Rest in Space is the perfect name for the album, and maybe the perfect place to listen the whole album would be in an auditorium.
Favourite tracks: Agit, Rest in Space, The True Word of the Wind, Seikleos, Tawhid, Future Days
Ceg - Trapanasyon
Trap is not a very popular sub-genre in Turkish rap music scene but Ceg’s debut album seems to be the beginning of a new wave. His beats are powerful and his flow is very assertive. I was also inspired by his lyrics, especially his songs Asi and Tanrı. Outside of regular subjects like sex, drugs and gangsta shit trap music talks about, Ceg raps about popular culture, politics, masculinity issues which affects young men in Turkey who grow up to become sexist and unable to understand their own emotions because of how pressured they are to suppress them.
Favourite tracks: Asi, Bu Gece, Kafamız Matiz, Tanrı
House & Jazz
Kerem Akdağ - Dimensions
What an amazing album to get to know Kerem Akdağ, a talented funky house music producer from İstanbul. Whilst listening to his perfectly relaxing but rhythmic compositions, you won’t be able to stop yourself from dancing, at least I wasn’t. Soulful and moving, Kerem’s album Dimensions is completely multi dimensional and fills me with good vibes. I can see him gradually moving towards jazz house.
Favourite tracks: When I Think of You, Bossa Nueva, Studio Pimp
Kerem Görsev - After the Hurricane
Another talented Kerem is the famous jazz artist of Turkey, Kerem Görsev, whose soft tunes are the perfect companion to a rainy day, which is perfect for right now because it’s raining in London. After the Hurricane is definitely therapeutic, Kerem’s piano is conversing with Terell Stafford’s trumpet and takes you on a night out in New York.
Favourite tracks: After the Hurricane, December, Olive Tree
If you are curious about more Turkish music, take a look at this list:
8 Turkish Songs You Don't Need to Understand to Enjoy