Djivan Gasparian has made the ancient Armenian apricot-wood oboe called duduk famous outside his country. Now Vaçe Hosepyan protegé Suren Asatryan shows us with Veda | Farewell how the duduk and clarinet can prosper in rollicking ethno-techno ambient grooves. Those are set up here by Murat Kağan Ergün on classic and electric guitar and sitar, Göktuğ Çelik on Arabian violin, Muhsin Kiratli on saxophone, Pin Rada on didjideroo, Murat Sözen on kanun and Saam Schlamminger on def and bendir. Özcan Gül makes a special guest appearance on bass duduk.
Veda's first two tracks are club-ified energetic snake charmers where Suren's clarinet performs in sinuous wails over a tight percussion groove with growling Aborigine didj for very trippy effects. The title track dedicated to Krant Dink shows the duduk's plaintive soul in a gorgeous down-tempo meditation while "Sari Gelin" is a rompy folk dance played on the clarinet over a hip-swaying rhythm. "Kervan" sounds like an ancient shepherd's song which is set here against kanun tapestry and low synth pedals. "Sevgilim" has Suren overlay klarnet and duduk tracks while a sax does funky beat accents over a modern club groove. "Anneciğim" sports a down-tempo drum'n'bass foundation for a dreamy reed outing with jazzy e-sitar swag that would play like gangbusters in a Marmaris beach disco. This track in particular reminds me of Baluji Shrivastav's work which crosses electrified sitar with California surf tunes; except that Suren adds the utterly unexpected didjideroo for a very swampy effect.
While the various ingredients seem surprisingly at odds in theory, the outcome is a truly farout and tight encounter of the forth kind, more adventurous and modern that Suren's Horovel, Seneler and Bir Ömür Sadece albums and thus my favorite of the bunch. If you had to file it away in an eclectic music library, you would probably call it Ethno Trance. Those less worried over squaring things away cleanly will call it great fun. Either way, Veda | Farewell is a happy finder's keeper.