Şatellites is the self-titled album by the six-piece band from Israel who describe their music as “lost somewhere between the mysterious alleys of 70s Istanbul and the scorching sun and crystal blue sea of Jaffa, Tel Aviv”. They have built their sound on the shifting sands of Turkish folk and psychedelia born out of the electrification of the saz, a lute like 4-stringed instrument, in the 1960s which caused a shift to rock and psychedelic music drawing in western influences but marrying it with middle eastern scales.
History lesson aside, the sound of Şatellites is super-infectious and designed to get you out of your seat and dancing wherever you may be. Having seen Turkey’s Baba Zula, who operate in a similar territory, I can attest to the fact that you would have to be a hard-hearted person to not find yourself moving to these beats (I did a lot of seat swaying and head-nodding whilst writing this). The band wanted to intertwine those middle eastern sounds and rhythms with the groove of funk and disco and then dress it up in the silver cloak of psychedelia. For example, ‘Olurmu Dersin‘ has a flash of Nile Rodgers guitar, ‘Disko Arabesque’ has squelchy, phased, Bootsy Collins-style bass, breathy French-chanson vocals and the saz emulating the intricate patterns of arabesque decoration, ‘Seni Sen Olduğun İçin Sevdim’ would easily fit into a Stereolab or Vanishing Twin set, and ‘Yetke’ has the heavy stomp of Deep Purple.
But all these influences only enhance the Turkish-folk core. Everything is melded expertly so the whole is an uplifting swirl of sound and rhythm that could work in any club awash with viscous 60’s slide projections or enliven any trip into inner or outer space. Special praise for Itamar Kluger whose masterful saz playing drives the songs so brilliantly and to Yuli Shafriri for the soaring beauty of her vocals which can elevate the tracks to a near-spiritual level. Psychedelic-folk-rock-prog-disco-funk; what a glorious list of ingredients for this feast of an album.
Şatellites are Ariel Harrosh (Bass) Lotan Yaish (Drums), Yuli Shafriri (Vocals), Tsuf Mishali (Keys and Synths), Tal Eyal (Percussion) and Itamar Kluger (Diwan saz, both electric and acoustic, electric baglama, Greek 4 double string bouzouki).
You can also watch Şatellites on this amazing remote live session on Worldwide FM:
Review by Paul F Cook