It turns out that Sahin, a Turkish immigrant now residing in the Netherlands, is a force to be reckoned with, and "Bafa," his fourth as a leader, does not disappoint. Sahin plays a custom-made double neck axe, with a conventional fretted six-string one one neck and a 7-string fretless guitar on the other. He's got a pretty distinctive sound - the player he most reminds me of is French guitarist and former Tim Berne sideman Marc Ducret (also another player who's been known to use the fretless guitar). Though he doesn't use a lot of effects, Sahin has an biting electric sound and attacks the strings with a great deal of force, much like Larry Coryell used to do back in the 70s. I especially enjoyed the way Sahin's spiky, brittle, percussive sound contrasted with O'Gallagher's slippery, fluid alto. Several tracks feature Sahin's ringing, buzzing electronics, which serve as a sort of ambient backdrop to the foreground action.
The compositions on "Bafa" are largely complex, fast-moving, and multi-layered. They are full of unexpected accents and asides, featuring a variety of grooves and rhythmic modulations. The soloing, by all members of the quartet, is a wonder to behold. Each of the musicians here is clearly at the top of his game. While not really a 'fusion' recording, Sahin's electric sound, Sorey's hyper-energetic drumming, the overall aggressiveness of the music, and its complete avoidance of jazz and new music clichés is redolent of the best and most adventurous avant-jazz-rock fusion recordings of the past few years. "Bafa" is one of those recordings that can really overwhelm you with its complexity and high level of musicianship, yet you never get the sense that Sahin or any of the other players are merely showboating.