Tag Archives: Darkwave

Jakuzi’s Glam Synth-Pop Both Subverts and Honors Tradition


Jakuzi. Photos by Berk Cakmacki.

If you’re not familiar with mainstream Turkish music, allow us to set the scene: imagine the most overblown and fantastical elements of modern pop enthusiastically paired with a glitzy, ‘80s aesthetic and a generous helping of traditional Middle Eastern folk. You’d expect the result to be over-the-top— too indulgent, perhaps—but, instead, they’re shot through with a special kind of sincerity. When Turkish pop singers step up to the microphone, they mean every single, rhinestone-studded word.

Fantezi Müsik is both the name of this glammed-up genre of Arabesque pop and the title of the debut album by Jakuzi, the Istanbul-based duo of Kutay Soyocak and Taner Yücel. The pair have created their own 21st century take on their home country’s time-honored sound. Fantezi Müsik finds plenty of inspiration in the duo’s local scene, but it also borrows from classic new wave, synthpop, funk, post-punk, and the British sophisti-pop movement of the mid ’80s. It’s a potent mix that seems unlikely to come from a single band, let alone a single album—and, sometimes, a single song. Imagine Duran Duran imbued with Joy Division’s emotional grittiness, but still embracing the odd saxophone solo or Casio keyboard beat.

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Gearhead: Wax Idols

Wax Idols
Photo by Matt Licari
“To me, what’s fun is being able to synthesize the sound, sequence it out, and physically be able to plug a wire into a pot, turn knobs, and everything like that. I just appreciate anything that’s more of a tangible experience, because I feel like in this time we’re kind of distancing ourselves from that, a little bit. Let’s bring it back.” —Rachel Travers

Wax Idols are known for their intense live performances, but they shouldn’t be underestimated in the studio either. From the fairly stripped-down garage sound of their early recordings to the lush, dense darkwave of their latest, American Tragic, Hether Fortune’s powerhouse band works together to meticulously assemble their sound. Every instrument choice and production decision is conscious—and conscientious.

We caught up with Fortune and drummer Rachel Travers before their recent performance at Slutist’s second annual Legacy of the Witch event to talk about Travers’ passion for modular synths and Fortune’s engineering and production history (and how both prefer analog processes to digital for a number of reasons). This is the first installment of our Gearhead column, where we talk with musicians about the gear they use—and how they use that gear—to get the sounds they want.

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