Oriental lounge suits

Orient Expressions

Divan (DoubleMoon Records, 2004)

One thing you might not say about lounge music is that it’s gritty; the
expression somehow does not fit the style. Yet, strangely, OE manage a funky,
d’n’b-fuelled, laid-back up-front kinda lounge which demands you unslump from
that lumpy sofa and sit up and listen. Opening with a short intro track peppered
with Eastern influence and underpinned by an awesome electronic ambience the
album quickly launches into action with a simmering down tempo vehicle,
‘Ehmedo’, for vocalist Aynur Dogan whose searing performance melded with ud, sax
& beats is powerfully reminiscent of
Fateh Ali Khan
’s collaboration with Norwegian saxman Jan Garbarek. ‘Istanbul 1:26am’ is every bit as atmospheric as its title suggests, slinky
synths snake around sinuous darbuka percussion, leading us to another glorious
blast from band member Richard Kramer’s saxophone. Plenty of highlights follow,
not least a further track – ‘Dera Sor’ – featuring Dogan and more vocal
revelations in the form of Adile Yadirgi on ‘Kerkük Divani’. A personal favorite
comes mid-album – the tripped-out’n’dubby ‘Beats of Pera’, complete with
excellently executed oud solo, has much to hold the attention. With ten tracks
totalling roughly 60 minutes augmented by the shorter, atmospheric, ‘Intro’,
‘Interlude’ and ‘Outro’ the trio of DJ Yakuza (GTA anyone?), Cem Yildiz and
Richard Kramer create a long and very satisfying fusion of Middle-Eastern,
jazzy, urban (if we must) lounge. Producer Murat Uncuoğlu clearly brings much to
the sound, ensuring that we all remain ensnared in the potent musical spell
woven by DoubleMoon Records.