Best Albums of 2018
selected by Emir Aksoy

Ah! Kosmos <BR> “Beautiful Swamp”

Ah! Kosmos
“Beautiful Swamp”

Başak Günak, the name behind Ah! Kosmos, has gained universal fame already but it’s been three years since we last heard a LP from her. Finally “Beautiful Swamp” filled that empty space in our heads and hearts. There are some surprises hidden in this album like Elif Çağlar and Özgür Yılmaz. Open your ears as wide as you can and indulge yourself in these songs as much as you can.

♪♫ Listen: “Wide” + album stream

Ah! Kosmos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Ahmet Ali Arslan <BR> “Günaşığı”

Ahmet Ali Arslan

“Günaşığı” is the first LP of Ahmet Ali, but it is a mature fruit – he has released two EPs before, “Su Akar Deli Bakar” in 2015 and “Bahara Övgü” in 2016. He uses Turkish melodies, scales, and rhythms in his music in a way that’s far from any exaggeration and degeneration. This album will take you for a walk along Bosphorus, with a smooth mind.

♪♫ Listen: “Ben Sana Hayran” + album stream

Ahmet Ali Arslan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube.

Ahmet Faik Dökmeci <BR> “Birkaç Yılın Öyküsü”

Ahmet Faik Dökmeci
“Birkaç Yılın Öyküsü”

For a long while, we haven’t heard a good album with a rock soul inside in Turkey. Thank God, Ahmet Faik broke this rockless trend and published a great debut album on GTR Müzik, which is a label that doesn’t have any bad music in their catalog. Let’s hear Ahmet Faik’s stories from the last few years.

♪♫ Listen: “Rüya” + album stream

Ahmet Faik Dökmeci on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Altın Gün <BR> “On”

Altın Gün

Altın Gün is the rebirth of the real Anatolian rock. They are playing covers of beautiful Turkish folk music with psychedelic and progressive tunes, and in this part of the world, we haven’t heard such clever reworks for nearly 50 years. They are quite popular abroad already, but they deserve even more.

♪♫ Listen: “Cemalım” + album stream

Altın Gün on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Barış Demirel – Barıştık Mı <BR> “Fail Play”

Barış Demirel – Barıştık Mı
“Fail Play”

As a trumpet player, Barış is one of the most productive musicians around. His new album Fail Play is full of great melodies played by very good musicians like him. Songs are not holding on just one theme, they are rich enough to describe them as progressive and you will never get bored from listening to them.

♪♫ Listen: “Babamgil” + album stream

Barış Demirel – Barıştık Mı on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, www.

Baturay Yarkın <BR> “Su”

Baturay Yarkın

With this debut of his trio, Baturay Yarkın announced that he is one of the boldest young pianists of our era. You will hear mostly jazzy tunes here, but some melodies come from the roots of Turkish culture.

I believe he will be one of those greatest who will be touring around the world a lot in his life. And if you ever can see one of his concerts, you shouldn’t miss it.

♪♫ Listen: “Üsküdar’a Gider İken” + album stream

Baturay Yarkın on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Youtube, www.

Bora Çeliker <BR> “Ters Yüz”

Bora Çeliker
“Ters Yüz”

If you are familiar with the Turkish music scene, you already know Bora is a great guitarist. But when you listen to albums with his name, you’ll realize he’s also a great musician and composer. After a long break, he released “Ters Yüz” in 2018 and in this beautiful record he plays with some other great musicians: Andy Middleton, Burak Bedikyan, Johannes Strasser, Joris Dudli. If you like jazz music, you will appreciate it.

♪♫ Listen: “Çorba” + album stream

Bora Çeliker on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Bora Uzer <BR> “Benim Umrumda”

Bora Uzer
“Benim Umrumda”

This album makes me very happy because it’s been a long while since we could hear something new from Bora Uzer. With his unique style and funk-ish sounds, this was one of the most-played albums (in a loop mode) for me all year long. “Benim Umrumda” was released by GTR Müzik, which I highly recommend you to follow one more time if you’re interested in good tunes from Turkey.

♪♫ Listen: “Sevgilim” + album stream

Bora Uzer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Can Kazaz <BR> “Sürsün Bahar”

Can Kazaz
“Sürsün Bahar”

With all his hard work and meticulous style, Can Kazaz is still one of the most productive musicians of the Turkish alternative scene. Just one year after the LP named “Ben Sizden Kaçtım”, unexpectedly comes “Sürsün Bahar”. When the time period is shortening between two albums, I generally feel anxious about the quality and depth of work. But Can broke all my prejudices.

♪♫ Listen: “Sürekli Dert” + album stream

Can Kazaz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Cava Grande <BR> “Worm Universe”

Cava Grande
“Worm Universe”

In 2018, Tan Tunçağ from Portecho created another project named Cava Grande. It’s full of synths, so if you like electronic music – especially ambient – you should check out this extraordinary album. Dark melodies will create some visuals in your mind and let your brain play whatever she wants in these sceneries.

♪♫ Listen: “Our Weakness” + album stream

Cava Grande on Facebook.

Cem Özel <BR> “Aşk Ölmez”

Cem Özel
“Aşk Ölmez”

I can easily say that: For me, this LP is one of the greatest albums of 2018 in the Turkish scene. I’ve been waiting for Cem Özel to do something since 2012, when his magical first album “İnim İnim” came out. With “Aşk Ölmez”, you will enter Cem’s own universe, full of surprises. It is not a piece for a one-time listening. But if you like music, I believe you will listen to it more than once.

♪♫ Listen: “Kuş Gibi” + album stream

Cem Özel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Cenk Erdoğan <BR> “Fermata”

Cenk Erdoğan

Not only a great guitarist but generally a great music man, Cenk Erdoğan shows talent in composing, arranging, recording, accompanying…

Follow-up to “Kara Kutu”, released in 2014, “Fermata” is like a medicine for souls that seeking music. In this album, Robert Mehmet Ikiz and Baran Say are playing with Cenk’s fretless guitar, creating together a truly unique sound.

♪♫ Listen: “Kara Gider” + album stream

Cenk Erdoğan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, www.

Derya Türkan & Sokratis Sinopoulos “İstanbul’dan Mektup Volume II”

Derya Türkan & Sokratis Sinopoulos “İstanbul’dan Mektup Volume II”

This is a meeting of two great musicians from both sides of the Aegean Sea – one is from Turkey, and the other one is from Greece. Both are playing the same instrument, İstanbul Kemancha. And as you can guess from its title, this album is a continuation of “İstanbul’dan Mektup” (Letter from Istanbul), which was released in 2001. It will tell you stories of both lands and show you the soul of the Aegean Sea.

♪♫ Listen: “İzmir Aptalikos” + album stream

Derya Türkan on Facebook, Instagram.
Sokratis Sinopoulos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Ediz Hafızoğlu <BR> “Nazdrave 13”

Ediz Hafızoğlu
“Nazdrave 13”

After the first “Nazdrave” album released in 2014, we had to wait four long years to hear “Nazdrave 13”. Like previously, you’ll hear many great musicians accompanying Ediz Hafızoğlu in different ways.

If you are interested in playing drums, keep both of your ears on it, because Ediz is also one of the greatest drummers in Turkey and of course he’s playing this instrument here. But this is not a drum or drummer album, this one touches many different genres and tunes.

♪♫ Listen: “Hayat” + album stream

Ediz Hafızoğlu on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Elif Çağlar <BR> “The Art of Time”

Elif Çağlar
“The Art of Time”

With her third album, Elif Çağlar made another collection of high-quality songs. I should mention great musicians that played with her: Çağrı Sertel (keys), Volkan Hürsever (bass) and Ediz Hafızoğlu (drums), who you met already one point above. Elif’s voice and songs create a kind of addiction and if you let them into your ears, you always need more. And the best about her music is that you’ll never find a note or a melody which is meaningless. That’s a rare thing nowadays, isn’t it?

♪♫ Listen: “Plate” + album stream

Elif Çağlar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Gaye Su Akyol <BR> “İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir”

Gaye Su Akyol
“İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir”

Step by step, Gaye Su Akyol is climbing Mount Everest. Since her debut album, “Develerle Yaşıyorum” from 2014, and her second album “Hologram İmparatorluğu” released in 2016, she is getting higher and higher, drawing attention from all around the world.

It can be easily said that she’s one of the strongest candidates for the title of The Queen of Turkish Music.

♪♫ Listen: “İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir” + album stream

Gaye Su Akyol on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, www.

Glasxs <BR> “Mavi Toz Ormanda”

“Mavi Toz Ormanda”

Glasxs designs fabulous, dreamy world for her listeners, where you will hear different songs in different moods, recorded with partners who join her on this journey. If you like electronic music with some shades of trip-hop, you will most probably like Glasxs’ second album “Mavi Toz Ormanda”.

♪♫ Listen: “Başka Bir Dünya Yok” + album stream

Glasxs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Gürol Ağırbaş <BR> “Bas Şarkıları 3”

Gürol Ağırbaş
“Bas Şarkıları 3”

One of the most important bass players in Turkey released the third of his bass songs albums – 20 years later than the second one. There are many beautiful songs here, where you will hear great bass solos between many great singers of the scene. Whether you are interested in playing bass or not, you will love this.

♪♫ Listen: “Alaturka Bossa” + album stream

Gürol Ağırbaş on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Harmondia <BR> “A Strange Tissue of Space and Time”

“A Strange Tissue of Space and Time”

Two great musicians, Burak Irmak and Berke Can Özcan, who know each other for 20 years and have played in many different great projects together, created a duo and released an album for the first time. Their sound different, but equally impressive. And as a duo, they produce great tunes, very much like they did in the past 20 years in different corners of the Turkish music scene.

♪♫ Listen: “Kalumbu” + album stream

Harmondia on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, www.

Herkestam <BR> “Tuhaf”


Herkestam is a rap duo of Geo Karabacakis (vocal) and Emiladil (music). They released their debut album via M4NM, which is a very important music collective.

On “Tuhaf”, they feature many guests in their songs, and that makes me feel excited about it. And if you like rap music, you should feel the same.

♪♫ Listen: “Birkaç” + album stream

Herkestam on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Nelly White Band <BR> “Ordinary Woman”

Nelly White Band
“Ordinary Woman”

With the emergence of the Nelly White Band and their debut album “Ordinary Woman”, we get a beautiful funk/soul/R&B-influenced pop album, which has its own place between all these powerful “albums of the year”. I don’t have any idea about why she lives here, but I think we are lucky to have her in Antalya, Turkey. She creates universal sounds – I mean anyone who actually listens to these songs will accept them easily.

♪♫ Listen: “Ordinary Woman” + album stream

Nelly White Band on Facebook, Instagram, www.

Ozan Sarohan <BR> “Güneşe Türkü”

Ozan Sarohan
“Güneşe Türkü”

With his debut album “Güneşe Türkü”, Ozan Sarohan shares his own stories, as pure and fragile as they are. You will feel this intimacy immediately.

We have heard Ozan before this album because he was playing fretless guitar with Ahmet Ali Arslan, but that’s a totally new encounter. And it’s nice to meet with him like that – and with his calm songs.

♪♫ Listen: “Ahval” + album stream

Ozan Sarohan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Ozbi <BR> “Serserilik ve Şiir”

“Serserilik ve Şiir”

In his new album “Serserilik ve Şiir”, Ozbi keeps rapping but the music sounds more electronic compared to his previous works. His words are still stinging, in contrast to nearly all of the rest of Turkish alternative scene. Under such strong pressure, it feels great to hear a political standing.

♪♫ Listen: “Bugün Ölmem” + album stream

Ozbi on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube.

Peyk <BR> “Lay Lay Lom”

“Lay Lay Lom”

One of my favorite bands Peyk finally released a new LP after 4 long years. Of course, they released some songs in the meantime, but it is still great to hear a proper full-length. For me, they are the big brothers of Turkey’s independent scene, and they still make good rock music – which isn’t so easy to find nowadays.

♪♫ Listen: “Sabret” + album stream

Peyk on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube.

Rain Lab <BR> “Rain Lab”

Rain Lab
“Rain Lab”

If you like trip-hop, then you will love to hear these tunes with the voice of İdil Meşe and music from Da Poet. Rain Lab is a project of these two successful musicians, whose six-song self-titled LP is loved by both of their audiences. They have their own solo careers, but this album is as beautiful and strong as their own projects.

♪♫ Listen: “Infatuation” + album stream

Rain Lab on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Sena Şener <BR> “İnsan Gelir İnsan Geçer”

Sena Şener
“İnsan Gelir İnsan Geçer”

Sena released many singles – or I can call them ballads – in the last two years. And at the end in 2018, she gave us her debut albüm “İnsan Gelir İnsan Geçer”. She is one of the best young musicians on our scene, and with this LP she made a big jump. I believe we’ll see some more in the close future, as she has the talent and capacity to win worldwide recognition.

♪♫ Listen: “Çirkin Dünya” + album stream

Sena Şener on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Skysketch <BR> “Fox Wedding”

“Fox Wedding”

Their roots go back to 2005, and since that time they’ve been making music in Eskişehir with different names. They have released some EPs and singles in the recent years, but “Fox Wedding” is their debut album. I wasn’t aware of their music until this LP, but when I heard it, they made me feel good and proud. Hope to hear from them in the next years – or decades?

♪♫ Listen: “Fox Wedding” + album stream

Skysketch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp, Soundcloud.

The Ringo Jets <BR> “Open Sesame”

The Ringo Jets
“Open Sesame”

The Ringo Jets is one of the very few bands that come to my mind when someone says “Turkish rock’n roll”. Their new album “Open Sesame” is just another reason for this immediate association.

It is full of energy and good tunes, and after a few minutes, you might find yourself shaking your head and playing air guitar.

♪♫ Listen: “Vainglorious” + album stream

The Ringo Jets on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Yaprak Sayar <BR> “Caz Musikisi”

Yaprak Sayar
“Caz Musikisi”

Yaprak Sayar is one of the most unique voices of Classical Turkish Music of our era. She has appeared in different projects, albums, and choirs, but “Caz Musikisi” is her debut album. It is full of great examples of Turkish music played in the jazzy way. As the result, this record is neither a jazz album nor a classical music alone, but a great combination of both. And a sweet way of saying hello to the world.

♪♫ Listen: “Gel Ey Denizin Nazlı Kızı Nuş-i Şarab Et” + album stream

Yaprak Sayar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz <BR> “Akustik Travma”

Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz
“Akustik Travma”

After four long years, Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz released a new LP named “Akustik Travma”. Their sound got more electronic, which makes the impression better for me. This album also includes some singles they released since the previous album – giving signals of that change – which fit this LP in a great way. They are still one of the pioneers of the alternative Turkish music scene.

♪♫ Listen: “Bodrum” + album stream

Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.