Turkish-inspired, synthesized beats? That idea has to come out sounding gimmicky and contrived. Or at least like throwaway party mash-ups that required more perspiration over computer time coding than inspiration during composition. However, on dÉbruit’s Şiş Sürpriz EP, the French producer does just that, mixing Turkish themes and instrumentation with computerized beats and glitch-y percussion. The outcome is four complex, and sometimes chaotic, bouncing, funky house tracks where the idea is successfully made into something wildly intriguing, fresh and authentic.
The EP sounds genuine because it is. When dÉbruit moved to London some time ago, he came in contact with and gained an affinity for Turkish music. This discovery led to a trip to Turkey for further exploration, and from that comes an EP that sounds like traditional Turkish music was translated into club-like, dance-floor tunes. There’s still a bit of an accent on the translation, but it can be understood just fine.
The first two tracks, “Accordé Don” and “Turkish Ish,” use whining electronic accordion and an ’80s house-party-style talk box. These unlikely collaborators are underscored by buoyant synth lines, hand claps and darbuka drums, making a chaotic yet danceable rhythm. Even though the second track is called “Turkish Ish,” it’s ironically the most Western-sounding dance track on the EP. The pulsating theremin/flute melodic line will feel Middle Eastern to any untrained American ear, but the funky talk box and bumping synth lines take over for a good portion of the song. The groove on “Mezde” changes up the mood a little bit, as a deeply haunting Turkish string sample enters over a muddy mix of bass sounds and ringing chimes.
Any ancient jazz drummer will tell you something about it being impossible to teach the art of swing. That’s sadly the downfall of the last track, “Lil Zurna.” The syncopated MIDI percussion at the beginning of the track attempts to weave in and out of the synthesized harmonic minor chords of the accordion. But adding space to programmed drum sounds never has the same effect and sustain as acoustic drums, so it comes off as sporadic, sometimes even falling off beat.
Slightly awkward moments like this can be forgiving if not completely expected while listening to a set of songs as unorthodox and experimental as this. The amazing part is how accessible and danceable the four tracks still are. Be careful though: Coming in at just under 15 minutes, the EP might leave one hanging, considering pressing play from the top again.