Making her UK performance debut earlier this year at WOMAD UK, Turkish singer-songwriter and producer Gaye Su Akyol is definitely one to watch (if you haven’t already). Growing up on Anatolian pop and rock, she takes these genres along with her interest in psychedelic, surf, post-punk and electronic sounds to present İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir, her third album which was released on 26th October by Glitterbeat Records.
The album’s title translates as “Consistent Fantasy is Reality”. In a world that is becoming increasingly conservatised, Akyol wants us to appreciate imagination as a gift we can use to liberate ourselves in our personal and political lives. Her diverse musical influences, beautifully poetic language and delicate vocal phrasing let you glide between her stories with ease.
The opening title track is an astute showcase of all of this and what the other songs have to offer. Akyol also displays great examples of how electronic influences can be teased such that they aren’t jarring. ‘Meftunum Sana’ is one of them; a subdued Anatolian-psychedelic mix that shifts gears with a surprise acid techno beat bubbling under the production’s final vigorous moments.
The album frequently fluctuates in pace and mood; a realistic portrayal of the peaks and troughs that we encounter every day. ‘Laziko’, a fast, vibrant display of conflicting emotions towards a romantic interest, contrasts with the following track ‘Gölgenle Bir Başıma’, a slow, sombre description of grief that is hard for the subject to ignore.
One of the best tracks is ‘Hemşerim Memleket Nire’ (which is a cover of a Barış Manço song) that lures you in with a funky synth before evolving into an aching, surf-inspired ballad. The subject matter and how it is explored – inequality and double standards – aren’t ground-breaking but is ultimately what social justice and the motivations of artists like Akyol boils down to. It reminds us of the bigger picture.
İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir really is a cohesive, seductive piece of work to feast your ears on. Whether you are feeling introspective or about to embark on a mission, there is a song for almost every occasion.