Kim Ki O

The sound of diy dissent from Turkey

Photo: Aylin Gungor

Who They?

Kim Ki O are a synth and bass guitar duo from Istanbul, Turkey. They’re on their fourth album, ‘Zan’, of dreamy swirling synth anchored by simple drum machine beats and the wooden bass guitar driving the bottom end. They plough their own furrow, rarely veering from the formula, somehow imbuing their songs and avowedly DIY production with a sense of subdued revolt. It’s in the understated aggression in the bass playing, and the dramatic turns in the washing synths chords which eddy around the disgruntled vocals.

Why Kim Ki O?

When the opening track is called ‘Ímam Mikrofonu Açık Unutursa’ (’When The Imam Leaves The Mic On’), which features a snippet of an actual event in a city in south west Turkey when three young girls belted out the Turkish version of ‘Flashdance… What A Feeling’ across the city from a mosque’s loudpseakers when the imam accidentally left the mic on, you know you want to hear more. And sure enough, despite the language barrier, you get the idea, drawn into the mood they create with the likes of lead track ‘Sanki Hiç Durmadı’ and its New Order-esque melancholy.

Tell Us More

This sweet and simple bedroom synthpop is taking a stand in a country where being a woman, playing music and singing about failure, suppression and suspicion might well get you the kind of attention most of us could do without and never have to deal with. That it’s also this good makes it essential listening.

‘Zan’ is released on Lentonia

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