Asia Minor – Points Of Libration

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Review by Erik Neuteboom

 

Information from the band. “Asia Minor is a Franco-Turkish progressive rock band led by two Turkish musicians who settled in Paris as students back in the ’70s: Setrak Bakirel (vocals and guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute and guitar). Their early music revealed influences such as King Crimson’s In the Court Of The Crimson King, Jethro Tull’s Stand Up, Camel, Focus and Jade Warrior’s first albums. Their  progressive rock is deeply mixed with rhythms and atmospheres from traditional Turkish music on Crossing the Line (1979) and Between Flesh and Divine (1980). Spurred by the unwavering support from fans around the world, the band decided to reconvene in 2013, giving live concerts and composing new music that would be featured in their forthcoming third album. Keeping the band’s distinctive mix between Western and Eastern influences, this new work proves that, even after so many years, Asia Minor remain faithful to their style and nothing of their creativeness, stamina and originality has been lost. In addition to the two original members, the current line-up includes Evelyne Kandel on bass, Micha Rousseau on keyboards and Julien Tekeyan on drums.”

On this new album Asia Minor delivers mainly mellow, very melodic and harmonic symphonic rock, blended with some ethnic influences. The music is wonderfully coloured with moving guitar work (in the vein of Hackett and Latimer) and flute play (often with hints from Ian Anderson), and at some moments cheerful Minimoog flights (Deadline Of A Lifetime and Radyo Hatırası), soaring Mellotron strings (Crossing In Between) and Hammond organ (swirling solo in Urban Silk).

The vocals are in the first 7 tracks in English, and in the final song in the native Turkish language, to me it sounds as a world of difference! Because the singing in English is with a strong accent and lacks a bit emotion. But the native vocals (adding an ethnic flavor) in the dynamic highlight Radyo Hatırası sound passionate, in a beautiful way blended with acoustic guitar, and topped with varied play on the flute. This is Asia Minor at its full splendor!

A very nice return for those who are into more mellow symphonic rock, with strong hints from Camel (guitar, dreamy climates) and Jethro Tull (flute traverse).