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Mantra Moderne is a stunning, contemporary masterpiece that fuses Anatolian Psychedelia, Brazilian Tropicalia, 60’s European pop and American jazz. A must for fans of Khruangbin, Portishead, Arthur Verocai, Goat, Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, Os Mutantes, Cortex and co. The duo is formed of Kit Martin, who lives between London and France and plays all instruments on the album, and Merve Erdem, vocalist and multi-disciplinary artist from Istanbul, now based in London. This is their debut album. The album explores universal themes such as love, loss, decay, language and ideology, mixing three different languages: English, Turkish and French. Written and recorded by the duo - Kit composed all the songs and Merve wrote the lyrics - in rural France during 2018, each song was completed within a 12-hour window, pawning contemplation for spontaneity. Dubbed by Kit and Merve as ‘lo-fi-hi-fi’ in reference to the high-end tube equipment that helped it find its way to 8-track cassette tape. The style owes its sound to narrow tape width, valve distortion, spring reverb, the mixture of high end gear with lo-fi equipment as well as a disregard to the norms of hi-fi studio techniques. All instruments were analogue and no samples were used. The instruments that are used range from tablas to darbukas, balalaikas to ouds, MS20 synths to Farfisa organs and a lot of cuica. The mixing techniques were done on-the-fly, tracking immediately to tape: compression, EQ, delay and reverb; meaning mixing could not be revisited!
"A strange thing happens to you when you listen to Mantra Moderne. The world in its current state falls away and you are placed at the heart of what is a borderless planet. Thoughts fly through time zones to meet and merge with the thoughts of another all in the name of communion. This is unifying and joyous with an added dash of beautiful attitude. Mantra Moderne is a pop album that fights against any perceived ideas and breaks down any resistance you as a listener may have to anything deemed that mostly irrelevant tag of “World Music”. Over its nine tracks Mantra Moderne reveals itself to be a finely crafted and exciting pop album that walks a balanced line between sounding retro yet also futuristic. From the instantly thrilling intro to opening track Senden Başka right through to the hard hitting groove of closer Durma, Kit Sebastian takes your body on a trip through the resistance-is-futile dance moves it demands of you via a more cerebral journey into your emotional state clawing away any stagnant energy you may be withholding within and leaving you in a far stronger emotional state than when you first came knocking on its door. One of the strongest features of Mantra Moderne is its clever hybrid of lo-fi aesthetics and hi-fi ambitions. It has a duality to its sound that bathes each track in a richness whilst retaining the essence of a duo crafting music in the most basic of surroundings. Tracks like Pangea and With a Sense of Grace feel as raw as a White Stripes recording yet as full as something from a Broadcast album (the latter being an obvious touchstone of the duos sound). This hybrid is not only achieved by the production of the album but by that most important of elements... Songcraft. Kit and Merve are obviously very skilled in the art of song writing and you get a sense that if the duo were just handed an acoustic guitar and microphone they would be able to write a song that would sound ageless. An incredibly strong debut, Mantra Moderne is bursting at the seams with grace, wit, beauty and an irresistible groove. Its a meticulous record that allows rough edges to meld with warm pop aesthetics. A dance infused folk album that will hopefully catapult the duo straight into the homes of many across the world. Free thinking and free hip-shaking music that is captivating and addictive. Thoroughly recommended." - Simon Tucker