In a world of crate diggers, willfully eclectic selectors and micro-scene experts, few DJs and producers maintain the curiosity, bulletproof taste and unique identity of Mehmet Aslan. Born to Turkish immigrant parents and raised in Basel, Switzerland, a childhood absorbing Turkish music was only the beginning of an esoteric trip down a rabbit hole of fascinating, often unusual music, enrapturing dancefloors with his own record collection alongside his own, equally varied productions.
Aslan’s teenage years lead to a typical but in his case, truly obsessive dive into record collecting, chalking up hundreds of house and techno releases amongst friends. However, holding onto his more extensive collection and taste for the offbeat sounds of his childhood, Aslan began to edit some of the more unusual records into his collection, directing their qualities towards the dancefloor. This willingness to embrace the risks and foster a curiosity that other DJs might avoid was key to his residency at Basel’’s Hinterhof club.
Soon, a series of serendipitous hook-ups saw Aslan’s increasingly sought-after edits hit stores for the first time, releasing on Get Flavour records and then, Glasgow’s Huntleys & Palmers, featuring on two editions of their celebrated Highlife edits series. Such was the wider positive response to his edits, H&P invited Aslan to contribute his own music to the label, resulting in 2014’s breakthrough EP, ‘Mechanical Turk’. The record was hailed by Juno as “brilliantly hard to pin down”, warmly embracing it’s “myriad of styles – post-punk disco and afro-futurism, most notably – whilst not sounding anything like any of them”, and also earned a coveted 4⁄5 review on Resident Advisor.
The record had instant impact on dancefloors and among DJs, with Frankfurt’s Ata suitably impressed enough to briefly reinstate his ‘For Disco Only’ imprint, a sub-label of iconic club ‘Live At Robert Johnson’, having last released music by Luciano and Ricardo Villalobos. From there, Aslan’s musical community expanded in myriad ways.
He established his MMT alias for the mysterious sub-label, Hamam House, turning in three, first-edition cuts that have since become highly sought-after on wax, also turning in a well-recieved side of wax for Bristol’s Banoffee Pies. Aslan has further flexed his edit muscle on his own imprint, ‘Fleeting Wax’, run alongside like-minded digger, Miajica, dedicated to “breathing life into sleeping beauties”, alongside original productions that further weave more traditional music into the fabric of club productions. These delicate touches pepper his remixes for like-minded artists and labels such as Auntie Flo and Emotional Especial, as well as taking Damian Lazarus’s ‘Ancient Moons’ project to even more cosmic heights.
Aslan meanwhile continues to impress as a DJ, forging relationships with institutions such as Nuits Sonores, making multiple appearances at editions of the renowned festival in both Lyon and Marrakesh. He has also graced the sound systems at renowned spaces such as Vent in Tokyo, Concrete in Paris, London’s Corsica Studios, as well as accepting an invitation to perform at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide festival. His occasional B2B sessions with the likes of Baris K and Johnny Rock push the boundaries of an expansive record collection in even more unpredictable and compelling directions, while his 2016 session for Tim Sweeney and Beats In Space traces an hour-long path from activist poetry to eastern disco.
Within his personal studio, a part of Berlin’s cult Salon Zur Wilden Renate club, Aslan continues to write, edit and experiment. 2017 is set to see his debut on Jennifer Cardini’s much-loved Correspondant label, while he continues to work on a full-length LP, with the ultimate intention of performing with a full live band.
Whether in the confines of the booth, keeping the most open-minded dancefloor on their toes or establishing his own contribution to the musical landscape, Aslan continues to draw disparate lines between genres, eras and sounds, sewing a distinct musical tapestry that’s all his own, yet all yours to get lost in.
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