FERHAT – MY ISTANBUL
Most people have the dream of travelling to numerous, exotic places. Even for the ones whose lives do carry them to such locations, there are only a few cities that will form part of their identity and which they will always remember. Often, people on their deathbed will recall the street that they grew up on or the house in which they lived at a particularly pleasant time in their life even when decades have elapsed since those events.
Visions of violence and strife are just as powerful. People forced to leave their homeland, or a place for which they feel a particular affinity, tend to develop a blues that carries on throughout most of their lives. They long for those streets and for that spirit like the embrace of a long lost lover.
My Istanbul is a striking protest song presented in a modern, stark, even commercial manner. Ferhat’s haunting vocals, which recall the experimental-pop of artists like David Bowie and Peter Gabriel, narrates the looming presence of violence. It’s a theme that, like an old, jumbled up yarn, is hard to unravel and make sense of, but it is one worth discussing. Ferhat does an excellent job of using pop music to create such a discussion.
Neal Cassady – Another Death by the River
The real Neal Cassady lived his life fast, strange, and dangerously. And, it worked for him. For a while. He became the superhero and muse to one of the greatest generations of writers the U.S. has ever seen. He hung out with some of the wildest, most experimental groups of their time. Neal was a rockstar par excellence caring very little of such things.
It’s no surprise then that rock bands will feel an attraction towards this magic possessing character. After all, not only did Cassady inspire his friend, Jack Kerouac, to write On the road, one of the seminal books of the 20th Century. The beatnik counterculture here lived and died as he preached. Reportedly, he passed away at only 42 years of age while walking down a railroad track in the cold and the rain.
The Polish band that borrows his name for their moniker attempt to bring some of the same recklessness, wild imagination and mystery to their psychedelic-driven indie-rock. Another Death by the River often feels like a nightmare one might have after laying for too long in the blistering Summer sun. It sounds like the work of a group of people that have seen and lived through a lot, but also, as is often the case, of people who still possess a remarkable kind of innocence.