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Pete Namlook - Sultan (with Burhan Öçal) CD (album) cover

SULTAN (WITH BURHAN ÖÇAL)

Pete Namlook

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 1 ratings

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hieronymous
4 stars Pete Namlook's recorded output is quite diverse, partly due to his great variety of collaborators. Part of what makes Sultan stand out is the virtuosic playing of Burhan Ocal, on both stringed instruments and percussion. This really distinguishes it from other FAX releases which tend to be more atmospheric - the only similar one that comes to mind is the Dark Side of the Moog series, with the legendary Klaus Schulze sometimes soloing on synthesizer. But Sultan has a much more 'acoustic' quality when it focuses on the stringed instruments - I know nothing about Turkish instruments, but the liner notes state that he plays the tambura, oud, and baglama (also known as the divan-saz?). Sometimes these segments have ambient pads in the background, other times they focus on the instrument itself. There are definitely a variety of moods, established partly by the choice of instruments in each piece.

The first piece is called 'Yenilik' and is divided into eight parts - two are over five minutes long, one is over ten minutes long, the rest are one-two minutes. The first two tracks kind of set the pattern - Part I features one of the stringed instruments, then Part II introduces delay-laden percussion, first acoustic, then electronic beats and sounds emerge. The energy really picks up with a synth solo (played by Ocal?), and also brings to mind questions of how this was recorded - was it built bit-by-bit, in back and forth between Ocal & Namlook? Or is it mostly improvised? These are questions that I cannot answer. Part IV - the longest section of 'Yenilik' - is a percussion workout! I mention this because I saw on the progarchives forum someone say 'drum solos don't belong on studio albums' so if that's what you think, then beware! But voice comes in partway through, further establishing the mood of the piece.

The album closes with 'Gel G'r Beni Ask N'eyledi,' a long ambient piece accompanying some poetry read by Ocal. This piece is much more chill-out than the other tracks, though there are beats at various points - one even in 5/4! That alone should grant this album prog-worthy status.

Apparently this was originally planned as the first in a series of 36 releases exploring and remembering the rulers of the Ottoman Empire, but only two other titles were released that I am aware of - unfortunately Peter Namlook passed away in 2012. I think that Sultan would serve as a worthy representative of the world of Peter Namlook for someone into prog, though I would rank the Dark Side of the Moog series higher. You should also know that there are often multiple versions of these albums, often with alternate artwork. I have the 2004 re-release on Ambient World and a Turkish release on the Ada Muzik label as well. Finally, when I looked for information about Burhan Ocal, it turns out he plays with Sting! He has also played with the Kronos Quartet and harmolodic bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma. (I should also add that I tried to use the proper diacriticals but they didn't display correctly so I just took them out)

hieronymous | 4/5 |

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