Album review – Beneath the Sea – Deniz Atalay – Fretless Guitar

deniz atalay beneath the sea

Denizin Ötesinde (Beneath the Sea) is a collection of fretless guitar compositions ranging from 1998 to 2011 but all rerecorded recently, for example the track “Aktur” was Deniz’s contribution to the “Village of the Unfretted” CD, although this new version is slightly updated.

In his own words…

The idea of recording an album came into my mind more than 15 years ago. Due to many reasons I couldn’t complete the album earlier. However this delay has helped the songs to become more mellow.

I composed Ruh Göçü (Change of souls) (2001) after having an interesting dream at age of 24. Marcin’s brilliant string arrangments in Ruh Göçü and Anadolu Çınarı (Anatolian Tree) (2004) significiantly raised the artistic level of the compositions. Cezar’s approach to Ruh Göçü proved to me again that he was the perfect choice for this song.

When Marcin and me composed Aysuda (Moonlight over the sea) in 2005, Marcin asked me to give a Turkish female name to this song. I chose “Aysuda” from a name book as I really liked the name. In 2013 Marcin became a father and he gave the name “Aysuda” to his daughter.

Aktur (1998) is my first fretless guitar composition. I remember the late nineties when I was falling into the fretless world. Those days I had my first fretless guitar and I was composing melodies in Aktur (a holiday village) near the Mediterranean Coast.

Omm Ma Ra was composed in 2011, and while recording it in 2015 my 6 month old daughter “Aykız” joined the album with her voice and had her first studio experience. Again I need to say that time brought new ideas to the arrangments.

Özlem (Longing) (2003) has deep memories inside me. I remember our recording sessions with Marcin in his very small room in Warsaw in 2004, where he was making magical music with an old computer. Özlem has been revised after many years and the guitars were recorded again in 2016 in Ankara.

Uyan (Awekening) (2007) is an instrumental protest tune composed with the feelings around the political changes happening in Turkey in 2007. Daniel recorded several frame drums and sang in Tuva style.

Bayram Peşrev (1998) is composed in Uşşak Makam. When I was watching Cezar’s drum solo at the Tygmont Jazz Club I had the idea of recording this song in fusion style. I think it became a very interesting part of the album.

I invited Arto to record drums for the song Huzur (Peace of mind) (2011). I know him from “Night Ark” and his playing always impressed me, I am happy he joined the album.

Spotkanie (Meeting) (2008) was recorded at home spontaniously with a simple 2 track recorder. Our aim wasn’t to record an album song but the energy and harmony in our improvisation was so satisfying that I decided to end the album with it.

As the album was recorded over a long time period you may hear different sounds as recording and mixing technology has changed tremendously in last decade. But these sound differences shouldn’t be a reason not to publish the album. I am sad that my father, who passed away few months ago, didn’t have the chance to see and hear this album. I am sure music travels through the Universe and he listens to these melodies in peace.

Special thanks to: Hatıra Ahmedli, Şinasi Celayiroğlu, Murat Arkan, Önder Özkoç, Marcin & Gaya Malinowski, Gökhan Güneş, Mateo, Kenan Turgut, Ekrem Özkarpat, Anna Nawrat, Jeff Berg, Mehdi Gholami, Neşet Ruacan, Erkan Oğur, Gülsün Atalay, my Mum, Dad, Brother, Eleonora and my lovely Aykız…

….ends – Deniz Atalay

Deniz Atalay


1. Aysuda (Moonlight over the sea)

Composed by Deniz Atalay & Marcin Malinowski
Arrangment by Marcin Malinowski
Fretless Classical Gtr & Ebow – Deniz Atalay
Synth & Keys – Marcin Malinowski
Double Bass – Paweł Pańta
Drums – Cezary Konrad
Percussions – Michał Rodzeń
For my brother

2. Anadolu Çınarı (Anatolian Tree)

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Arrangement by Marcin Malinowski
Fretless Classical Gtr & Other Gtrs – Deniz Atalay
Synth – Marcin Malinowski
Double Bass – Paweł Pańta
Drums – Cezary Kondrad
Strings – Fair Play Quartet
For my father

3. Özlem (Longiness)

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Arrangement by Marcin Malinowski
Fretless Classical Gtr & Classical Gtr – Deniz Atalay
Synth – Marcin Malinowski
Percussions – Michał Rodzeń

4. Omm Ma Ra

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Vocal – Aykız & Eleonora Atalay
Electric Gtr & Synth Gtr – Deniz Atalay
Drums – Cem Aksel

5. Ruh göçü (Change of souls)

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Arrangment by Marcin Malinowski
Fretless Classical Gtr & Electric Gtr – Deniz Atalay
Synth – Marcin Malinowski
Double Bass – Paweł Pańta
Drums – Cezary Kondrad
Strings – Fair Play Quartet
For Atatürk

6. Bayram Peşrev

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Fretless Classical & Electric Gtr & Synth – Deniz Atalay
Double Bass – Paweł Pańta
Drums – Cezary Kondrad
Bendir – Daniel Moński

7. Uyan (Awakening)

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Gtrs & Synth Gtr – Deniz Atalay
Bendir & Vocal – Daniel Moński

8. Aktur

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Fretless Classical & Electric Gtr & Ebow – Deniz Atalay
For my family

9. Huzur (Peace of mind)

Composed by Deniz Atalay
Vocal – Eleonora Atalay
Electric Gtr & Synth Gtr & Ebow – Deniz Atalay
Bendir & Drums – Arto Tunçboyacıyan
For Eleonora

10. Spotkanie (Meeting)

Double Neck Fretless Gtr – Deniz Atalay
Piano – Marcin Malinowski


Mix – Yılmaz Yeşilyurt
Mastering – Yılmaz Yeşilyurt & Aras Tüysüz
Album cover picture by Gökhan Güneş
CD booklet design by Mert Demir
All songs are composed by Deniz Atalay
“Aysuda” composed & “Spotkanie” improvised by Marcin Malinowski and Deniz Atalay
Produced by Deniz Atalay

Quick Review

Well, I have heard a lot of Deniz Atalay’s work over the years but this album was quite stunning, starting off with “Aysuda” (Moonlight over the sea) the combination of fretless guitar and a synth was a very pleasant surprise. “Anadolu Çınarı” (Anatolian Tree) features a really nice string section curtesy of the Fair Play Quartet, Perhaps the first time I have heard fretless guitar in such a setting. “Özlem” (Longiness) is a very haunting fretless piece. “Omm Ma Ra” features vocals from Aykız & Eleonora Atalay. “Ruh göçü” (Change of souls) also features strings it is remarkable how well the fretless guitar blends into this environment. “Bayram Peşrev” is a little darker and features some great percussion and wicked synth sounds. “Uyan” (Awakening) rolls slowly into an almost tribal beat with a very cool finish. “Aktur” if you have the Village of the Unfretted CD – you will know this one! “Huzur” (Peace of mind) is a very gentle song with just the right touch of vocal and percussion, really well performed. The final track “Spotkanie” (Meeting) (Buluşma in some downloads) as Deniz mentions, is a free improvisation recorded in 2008 and as such stands a little apart from the rest of the album, but that is not to disparage this track, it really is quite engaging with Deniz on double neck fretless guitar and Marcin Malinowski on piano it is free jazz at its best.

All in all this is a really cool album, great late night listening, Deniz’s mastery of the fretless guitar and composition is without question, every time I play it I hear something different. A lot of hard work has gone into this album and it certainly shows. Highly recommended.

Review: Jahloon – September 2016


Turkish Makam Deniz Atalay tutorial

The Evolution of Perdesiz Gitar (Fretless Guitar) in Turkish Music

Deniz Atalay – website

Links to Beneath the Sea downloads

CD Baby
Listen Tidal


More Fretless Music Reviews

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