Published Oct 03, 2018This new full-length from Istanbul-born Başak Günak's communicates a sense of urgency that's difficult to ignore. It comes across mainly in her deft balancing of electronic and rock techniques — her po-faced vocals add to the seriousness of the effort too. An intentional lack of polish on these ten new tracks adds to the deep impression left by Beautiful Swamp.
Musically, Günak presents beefy electronics side-by-side with rock guitar and drums, a combination that is surprisingly unique — it's genuinely difficult to label the album either an electronic or rock release.
As a sound designer, she knows her way around electronic music. "Dawn" is a good example of a more conventional downtempo electronic piece; it'll strike some as a bit complex, but it's a charming listen. That's followed by the equally agreeable "Paradise," featuring a guest vocal by Leah Christensen.
Günak is a talented multi-instrumentalist, one clearly not interested in offering up the latest coffee-house soundtrack. On "Woods," aggressive beats are joined first by a funky guitar lick and then a kind of prehistoric Günak vocal. "June" melds the same elements into a piece that seems to go fast and slow at the same time, while "Wide," featuring guitarist Özgür Yılmaz, is Pink Floyd heavy.
The track that seems to best fit the album's title is "Quod Non Pertinent Hic." (Latin for "this is not due.") It's a dreamy, almost ambient piece that deserves an extended version. It is not the only moment on Beautiful Swamp that will leave you wanting more. (Compost)