When you are born to Turkish immigrant parents and raised in Basel, Switzerland, like Mehmet Aslan, your music taste can only be considered eclectic.
The Swiss-Turkish DJ and musician recently released his debut album The Sun Is Parallel which features a mixed bag of genres. You’ll hear Aslan combining house, acid, psych, Eastern melodies on the album, and so much more.
Aslan explores the themes of community and migration through this album with his vast knowledge of music – almost like a dedication to alternative musical cultures from the past decades.
If this is only his first effort at an album, we can’t wait to hear more.
Press play and follow along the story – in Aslan’s own words – behind the songs from The Sun Is Parallel.
At the very end of the song there is a rumbling sound, that is a recording of the door of our Fusebox here in my flat in Berlin. Our jackets hang above the box and I noticed that the hangers always came up against the box and made a strange noise, produced by the hollow space.
I really only added the noise at the end of the production so that there would still be a real recording in the song, because it was already very sample-heavy.
It's probably not visible now, but Fountain belonged to one of the three interludes at the beginning that helped me hold the album together. These interludes were all done at the same time, so I think it's audible.
The breakbeat sound that can be heard from the beginning, I actually wanted to play with real drums, but somehow it didn't have the same impact as this sample in the end.
Nevertheless, we breathed more life into the percussion with live drums from Alican. After that I experimented a lot with glitchy sounds until I had the desired drum sounds.
The melody with the guitar and synths was all done in one take. There were no ideas beforehand or anything like that.
We recorded a bass guitar, for example, but the main melody remained the same as in the beginning. Except that I spent a lot of time tweaking the arrangement and trying to find the right length.
Also, the end of the song only became clear at the end.
This song is pure fun. The challenge here was really to get the sound right and not destroy the rawness and tension of the song, which I had recorded actually in one long take.
The more atmospheric sounds only were added on the last day and it was even longer than it is now. I think I thought at least some harmony change couldn't hurt the song.
‘IF I CAN BELONG ANYWHERE’
This piece is perhaps the most personal of all the songs for me, so it's quite difficult to say anything about it.
I think it's like a walk in paradise, a place where I can be free – but until I fall and fall.
And get up again, until a man stands there and says these meaningful sentences to me. I look around me and wonder who I am right now.
‘TANGERINE’ FEATURING NINO DE ELCHE
I am so happy that Paco (Nino De Elche) agreed to do this collaboration and it all went so easily.
The difficult thing for me was really to give the necessary space for his voice because it is so strong. I want it to sound like a scream from far away. I imagine him standing, looking at the sea, maybe somewhere in Greece, like a Arnold Bocklin painting.
Hearing the song again after so much distance makes me realise how powerful it actually is.
We were talking to Daniel (the guitarist) recently about how the song sounded very raw at the very beginning. It was just this guitar loop and we kind of thought of the Queens Of The Stone Age.
Little by little the solo parts came in and gradually the arrangement started to emerge, and it became this, an actually finished song.
I think getting away from a less club-sounding beat also brought the song more in the direction of psychedelic rock.
‘THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HERKUNFT’
When I think of this song, these terms come to mind: What does origin actually mean? Multiple identities, cut and paste and avant-garde.
‘GARDEN’ FEATURING VALENTINA MAGALETTI
This is also one of those songs with many phases. It first existed as a demo version with an Ilhan Mimaroglu sample, which came out later but gave me the song idea.
It was a children's radio play record from the 60s. Those types of records are often very avant-garde and incredibly playful.
When I was looking for collaborations I came across Valentina Magaletti’s work, I knew her from Tomaga.
She was interested in the demo version and I showed her a song by Un Department, a new wave band from France and imagined that the drums could have a similar style. She then did her own magic anyway and I had incredible rhythmic material to finish producing the song.
At some point in the final stages I noticed that a short piano sample in the song was actually from Talk Talk. I somehow got the idea to shazam that part because I didn't know where the sample came from!
This discovery made me despair. Eventually I buckled up and recorded a similar melody myself. This song is representative for me of how difficult it can sometimes be to finish a song and be satisfied with it.
I came to this title and idea for the song through an essay by Mircea Eliade, which I would simply like to quote, I hope it translates well.
"For example, there are still areas that are qualitatively different from the rest: the homeland, the landscape of one's first love, a certain street or corner in the first foreign city one visited in youth.
“All these places retain an extraordinary, ‘unique’ meaning even for the completely unreligious person; they are the ‘holy places’ of his private universe."
I had to think of an "angular pyramid" and came up with this Japanese term, when I listened back to the song.
It somehow has a very dystopian aura and is maybe the most futuristic song on the album for me.
‘EVERYONE IS ALSO YOU’
The final song for me is like an old memory from a dream that I have now finished living. I have dealt with the dream, worked with it and now I am perhaps a little further along.
This feature of Behind the Songs was created with 9PR.
All Images: Dean Driscoll (Planisphere)
Elevate the way you listen to music with KEF
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
When he isn’t making sure Sound of Life stories are published in a timely manner, Kevin enjoys wandering aimlessly in Kuala Lumpur city, going down the YouTube rabbit hole and discovering new music.