1/  Koroglu                                    (Traditional)                 4.31
  2/  Karsilama                                  (Traditional)                 5.21
  3/  Girdin Yarnin Bahcesine                    (Traditional)                 8.27
  4/  Suda Balik Oynuyor                         (Traditional)                 4.45
  5/  Komur Gozlum                               (Traditional)                 5.06
  6/  Yuce Daq Basin Da Bir Koyun Meler          (Traditional)                 4.40
  7/  Sipsi                                      (Traditional)                 4.03
  8/  Gah Cikarin Gokyuzune                      (Traditional)                 5.27
  9/  Abdal Dance                                (Traditional)                 9.23
  10/ Feridem                                    (Traditional)                 3.59

          Recorded at Ferber Studios, Paris, France
          Engineer: Oz Fritz
          Assitants: David Felgeirolles and Axel Niehaus
          Produced by Bill Laswell and Nicky Skopelitis
          Mastered at Masterdisk by Howie Weinberg
Talip Ozkan: saz, percussion, vocals; Mahmut Demir: additional saz, percussion.

          1992 - Axiom/Island (USA), 314-512 003-2 (CD)
          2016 - Bill Laswell Bandcamp (digital)
Note: Bill Laswell does not play on this album.


In low moments I obsess on how my life might have been different had the Byrds continued moving in the direction of "Eight Miles High" rather than unfortunately inventing country rock. The wait has been long and pained, but finally here are the slurred runs, angular melodies and fractal-based riffs I've craved on Talip Ozkan's ‘The Dark Fire’. No genteel strumming here. Supported by frame-drum and wooden spoon production, Ozkan lunges into buzzing, stinging forrays, attacking the strings of his saz--a member of the lute family--with cherry wood plectrums he must surely snap in half like Metallica's drummer splinters sticks. When westerners talk of keeping traditional music alive, we generally mean pieces from the creaky 18th century, but Okzan dips into an established cannon dating back to 1250 A.D. or earlier from Turkey's pre-Islamic past. One of the wildest cuts, "Gah Cikarin Gokyuzune" is attributed to 15th century troubadour Kul Nesimi, member of the Alevi dervishes, who was skinned alive rather than renounce his faith. His fierceness courses through Okzan's performances.

Bob Tart (courtesy of the The Beat magazine website)


Talip Ozkan is a master of the music of Turkey, the music of the saz, a brilliant instrumentalist and singer. Based on a complex system of tones, scales and sounds, the "makam" is a guide book, a map for the improvisation of Turkish music. Talip Ozkan uses these ancient systems to create music as contemporary as any guitar style, and more complex than most. These "taqsims," or improvisations, are the raga of the middle east, arcane structures that are so complex only a few artists are capable of their execution. The Dark Fire expands on Ozkan's saz and vocals with an occasional second saz player and some small percussion touches, making this a slightly more pop sound, a bit more theatrical and less contemplative, but not to the music's detriment. This record is something that will cut right through the most resistant and jaded ears, drawing the listener into a whirlwind of throbbing bass notes and droning metal strings, capped by fervent vocals. The power that is exuded by this instrument is amazing, and Ozkan's fury on "Koroglu" and the passion of "Komur Gozlem" exemplify it. There is beauty, drama and desperation in these songs from Turkey, a message from one of the few Islamic cultures to embrace music and dance as a means to ecstasy and identity... I also highly recommend you get a copy of Ozkan's Mysteries Of Turkey (Music Of The World) as well. This album is a bit more programmed, giving you a feel for the path a live performance would take, and offers an interesting counterpoint to Dark Fire.

CF (courtesy of the Rootsworld website)