On his third album as The Soft Moon, Luis Vasquez wrestles with thoughts of suicide, vulnerability, dread, and mortality, placing a beating human heart amongst a sound palette of brash electronics, industrial noise, anxious vocals, and pummelling, forward-driving rhythms.
Of course, Vasquez's tastes extend beyond the post-punk, industrial music, and gothic pop that he explores on his records. He's talked fondly of krautrock, jazz, Prince, and Slayer in the past, and nowadays his listening habits see him taking in psychedelic music from around the world, more than anything else.
"Back when I was living in Oakland, I went down the record collecting rabbit hole," Vasquez explains, "My approach to record collecting was to always discover the rarest, weirdest, most exotic, and most psychedelic music imaginable. A small portion of my friends shared the same addiction, so we would get together often to listen to records we had all just purchased the week or two before. It was at one of these gatherings a friend of mine played me Turkish psych rock for the first time, and I got hooked."
Turkish psychedelic rock, also known as Anatolian rock, gained popularity during the late 1960s and early '70s, mixing traditional Turkish folk with the sound of the Western rock groups of the time. The style has found a new audience in recent years thanks in part to reissues and compilations by labels like Finders Keepers and Bouzouki Joe, and from DJs like Bariș K, who has released a series of Turkish psych and disco re-edits, allowing a new audience to hear the sounds of artists otherwise omitted from the Westernised music canon, like Erkin Koray, Selda, and Moğollar.
The Soft Moon: "If I remember correctly, this might have been my first introduction to Turkish music in general. I've been obsessed with the synth sound used in Yaylarlar. Still to this day I'm unsure if it's a synth being used or a traditional Turkish wind instrument known as a zurna effected with some distortion through a guitar amplifier. I purchased a zurna during my last trip to Istanbul because I just had to have one!"
The Soft Moon: "Erkin Koray is a guitar legend in Turkey and possibly somewhat of a hero in his country. This track has the perfect amount of everything I like about Turkish psych all balled up into one song."