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Ersen (Finders Keepers) CD

 Though he worked with some of the finest musicians in the Anatolian pop scene, including Mogollar and 3 Hurel, the singer Ersen has gotten rather short shrift when compared with fellow Turkish psych luminaries like Erkin Koray, Baris Manco, or Edip Akbayram. The reasons for this are complicated, stemming as much from political affiliations as from aesthetic considerations (although a 2006 bootleg of Dünden Bugüne, a rather tepid 1977 greatest hits comp, didn’t help the silken-voiced singer’s cause). With this stellar compilation on Finders Keepers, however, Ersen’s reputation gets a vigorous, and much needed burnishing. The album explodes out of the gate with “Ternek,” an absolutely scorching song that Ersen recorded with the mighty Mogollar, and almost accelerates from there (if that were possible — “Ternek” is a stone-cold Turk psych classic). The highlights are almost too numerous to mention: There’s the impossibly cool sleaze groove of “Gazan Mubarek Olsun,” the ridiculously heavy, bassbin shaker, “Cakmagi Cak,” the phenomenal east meets west, funk meets folk “Yeni Seni Taninm.” Ultimately, pretty much every song here is a keeper with grooves and breaks buoyed by Ersen’s dulcet vocals. I’m not one for hyper-ventilated prose, but this one warrants it. Tremendous!

-Susanna Bolle


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