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Computer programmer by day, Fecr-i Ati moonlights as a one-man hip-hop band of sorts. The 20-something Turkish rapper has been experimenting with music in his time off from work and has come up with some pretty imaginative results. A trained musician from a very early age, Fecr-i plays a wide variety of instruments including violin, flute, darbuka (a Middle-Eastern drum) and his personal favourite, the baglama, a Turkish stringed instrument heard here in this track, “Kalkmaz Kir”. A flashy hip-hop number given a Turkish makeover, “Kalkmaz Kir” also takes a cheeky swipe at bhungra, calling all arms to the dancefloor. Described by Fecr-i as a song about rising above those with bad attitudes, his guttural raps betray an almost mischievous swagger as he ploughs through the walloping beats with agility and force. It’s hard not to submit to the gravitational pull of the seductive, muscular rhythms and there’s much to love here, from the Turkish funk that runs through the Punjabi-inspired chorus to the mess-with-me-and-die attudinizing by the rapper, who is really just smirking underneath the fury. Undoubtedly blasting out of every bachelor’s sports car in Turkey.
Hot Eskimos turn the magic and confused beauty of the Sugarcubes’ most cherished number into a sublimely lush jazz rendering that brings the song’s most furtive emotion to the fore – one of deep sadness. “Birthday” has had a number of reinventions over the years, but no artist or band could ever capture the raw, unspoiled beauty of Björk’s voice, jubilant and vicious in equal measure. The band give the song that was primed for a jazz reworking an atmosphere of swirling colour and shape, with piano scales sliding around an at once steady and fractured rhythm, and the drums and upright bass creating a cadence of tension and release. Like the original, Hot Eskimo’s version is rich with ideas and a musicality that could only have been sparked by an imagination brimming with wide-eyed wonder and a desperate need to be fulfilled. Just see if you don’t laugh… or cry.
If everything breaks right for China Rats in the next few months, they will be 2013’s answer to the Vaccines 2011 campaign. The Leeds band channels more Ramones pop-brut than the Vaccines ever did, but the insistent drums and shout-along refrains are the common thread. “To Be Like I” is a revolving door rock song, spinning and spinning in place, joyfully centered on the title lyric. The band will play SXSW in a few months time, and have a coming single to back “To Be Like I” and the band’s other recent raucous single, “N.O.M.O.N.E.Y.” With a big following in the UK, in the ever-evolving American “now”, China Rats are in the pregnant moment before things either happen or don’t, like “To Be Like I”, full of potential, brash and uncertainty.
// Notes from the Road
"Red Baraat's annual Festival of Colors show rocked a snow laden Hartford on a Saturday evening.READ the article