Song of the Day: Omar Faruk Tekbilek “Aksak” (Amon Tobin remix)

Posted on June 28, 2012



I’ve been listening to “Aksak” rabidly for 2 years. I listen to it on the long bus commute to work, I listen to it on the treadmill, on round-Shanghai walks, in the supermarket, when I’m trying to sleep. I listen to this track a lot. And somehow it never gets old. I mean, if this doesn’t make you think of elephants, deserts, carved pavilions and tangerine-and-pink sunsets, I can’t imagine what else will. “Aksak” to me is Jaipur without a plane ticket.


But I’m really just talking shit because “Aksak” was composed and performed by Omar Faruk Tekbilek, BBC’s World Music Award nominee in 2003 (Middle East category) and god-like Turkish flautist. (Well, Wikipedia says he actually won the award, but his own website says he’s a nominee.)

Omar Faruk Tekbilek mostly plays on the ney, a cane or reed flute that dates back to the age of the Pyramids, although he also sings and plays the lute, oboe and percussion. Read his interesting bio here, and you can download music too.

And here’s a useful diagram to teach you how you play the ney. I know, right? I’m so helpful.


The other half of “Aksak” is Amon Tobin, who probably needs no introduction, but I’m gonna do it anyway cos I just found out myself he’s from Brazil. Rio! (Unless wiki is screwing with me again. *fist shakes*)

Amon Tobin is a freaky sound-engineer-designer extraordinaire who does ridiculously cool things with audio manipulation equipment. Example: 2007’s Foley Room, which is all digitally tweaked ambient sounds from non-instruments.

Both virtuosos come together so beautifully in this beat-and-mood-heavy track. Omar Faruk crafts a lush, mystical landscape, and Amon Tobin imbues it with a driving energy that is at times urgent, curious, and fantastical.

And another thing – which I don’t often notice in songs – is the masculinity of this track. “Aksak” is definitely, strongly masculine, despite its gentleness and subtlety. Or perhaps I am just lonely and love-deprived, as my beautiful darling cat is currently in a pet hotel. Oh well.

More years of chilled out Arabic-electronic collaborations, please.