‘Few bands in the Istanbul scene have evolved quite so dramatically or had such an enduring effect on the spirit of the city’s underground as Nekropsi.
In order to create and release what they call their 4th‘legal’ album, Aylık, Nekropsi have used a variety of methods, some orthodox, others less so. Throughout 2013, the band released a track a month, breaking in June for Gezi, and in October, for ‘internal reasons’, leaving a 10-track album plus a Smashing-Pumkins-esque mashup of the tracks on it – fittingly entitledÇorba.
A band with its roots in thrash-metal (their first production, released in 1992, was called Speed Lessons Part 1 and was pure thrash), Nekropsi went on to radically develop their sound album by album. 1996’sMi Kubbesi offered an impressive fusion of jazz, metal, avant-garde rock, and traditional Turkish folk melodies;Sayı 2, 10 years later, threw out a more eclectic mix of pieces, revealed krautrock and industrial influences, played around with more complex time signatures, and even included vocals for the first time (in both German and Turkish).
With the unexpected to be expected by this stage, and almost another 10 years between releases, Aylıkoffers an even greater range of material. Looking back at their previous work, you could describe this as ‘totally not sounding like Nekropsi’, but a more persuasive element to it asserts that it is ‘unmistakably Nekropsi’.
As with all their previous releases, Nekropsi’s metal origins can still be found in Aylıkand are most prominent in tracks such as Dedikodu, a poorly recorded and comic number, testament to the fact that Nekropsi does whatever it bloody well wants; Pusula, like moshing in slow-motion; and Kış Kış, a frenzied tribal dance punctuated with awesome waves of sound that pour over you like a noise waterfall.
There’s some stripped-down, moody minimalism, some of which, like 4/4, Daphne, and Okonomiyaki is even evocative of the modern minimalist masters such as Philip Glass. It’s in a couple of these tracks (Daphne andOkonomiyaki), and in the 7th track, Istanbul’a Dönüş, where we hear something that is certainly new territory for Nekropsi – glimpses of unchallenging pop harmonies, clearly pleasant enough to listen to, but lacking in any of the edge that has kept Nekropsi so fresh all these years.
Having said that, they clearly redeem themselves with the other tracks, and none as much as with ++++, which delivers a riff deceptively catchy in its delivery, but with an element of elusiveness, keeping it neatly just beyond your grasp.
One of the most underrated prog bands (if you want to call it that) around, with Aylık, Nekropsi have continued to evolve their sound to yet more diverse areas. This album has kept with the trend that Nekropsi set for themselves almost 20 years ago – pushing the limits of their creative abilities and managing to successfully deliver goods that are frankly awesome. Perhaps it’s because of the fact that they never achieved ‘rock star’ levels of fame that they have been able to remain so uncompromising and are still very much the reclusive giants in the Istanbul underground, presumably off to lurk in the shadows for another 10 years before they deliver yet another unpredictable and stellar release as this album was.’