To the musician and the listener, I’d argue that music is kind of worthless when just standing on its own. Not in a derogatory way, it just kind of exists and can be judged on technical merit, which is valid but not always important. I think often a song or record’s true strength lies in the emotions it pulls out of the listener as much as you can feel from the musician. In the case of Bahadir Ham Ermyilmaz also known as Barista, his record Open Sesame Vol 1. Her Dress (a lengthy but memorable title) is one of the strongest releases of the year.
Combining a palpable love for rock, alternative, camp, and a shocking disco track that feels seamless it’s an album with literally something for everyone. Barista has been busy since deciding to pursue music eight years ago with his debut release Daydream back in 2014 and his follow-up 57 back in 2016. It can only be assumed that Open Sesame will be a multi-parter and I am frothing at the mouth to hear what other wonders Barista has concocted. His performer name even takes on an interesting connotation when you take into account how many elements and ingredients he’s mixing in any given song.
Personality is just bursting on every song with the aid of some fantastic instrumentals notably the guitar work and the phenomenal Simon Phillips on drums. Barista himself says that his lyrics are notably about unity and I would certainly agree with that as an almost blanket term with a wide array of interpretations. For me, I see the record as a want of unity in a weary world. Songs like “Circular Lives”, “In a Dream” and especially “Watching the End Begin, Part 1 (Coffee Song” are all about capturing a certain melancholic vibe, with the latter almost feeling like a condemnation of the system we’re all pieces in. It’s not cynical, but it’s definitely a lived-in feeling of disdain mixed with a hope we all feel that things will get better. It’s kind of what makes the ending track “Be Mine” seem so cathartic to experience a cavalcade of songs about bitterness, loneliness, and even the ambiguity and sense of dread you feel when wanting to love someone only for the end of the album to be a declaration of love. It’s a real light at the end of the tunnel kind of situation and almost turns the record into something of a concept album. It’s an expansive dense record that’s wholly engrossing from the first track and definitely takes some now rote genre conventions and subverts them almost expertly.
“Disco Sun”, stands out a lot with its poppy melody and fantastic production but it almost feels like the odd duck out. A fantastic song nonetheless but it feels like something that would maybe work better as a future single release. Altogether Barista wants to challenge his audience and make them feel something in the same way that he feels and by my definition of music, this is a worthy listen to anyone wanting to feel something in these difficult times.