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.