No Such Thing As Free Will by Deniz Cuylan

Release date: March 19, 2021
Label: Hush Hush Records

There seems to be a well-trodden path for acoustic guitar-dominated music. Whatever style the main protagonist plays, the albums turn out to be a series of guitar explorations that often show the excellent technique. But, at the same time, quite a few of them, after a few themes start losing their focus and turn into a set of guitar playing lessons. 

On the other hand, such albums that show a vision, have a common musical thread and focus on what the music is supposed to conjure tend to be the ones that leave a deeper impression on their listeners.


Turkish-born composer/guitarist Deniz Cuylan tries to take the latter path on his most recent release No Such Thing As Free Will. The globetrotting artist, who spent his time almost everywhere, from Moscow and Stockholm to Athens and New York is now located in Los Angeles, where he’s concentrating on film scores. If you’ve watched the Netflix series El Chapo, for example, you may have already be acquainted with Cuylan’s music.

And that cinematic experience permeates his latest album. Whether it is his classic guitar playing or other instruments he pairs it with here, Cuylan is concentrating a certain mood, an atmosphere, with his guitar playing serving the whole musical picture, without trying to dominate the sound, like on ‘She Was Always Here.’ No flashy solos, no show-offs, just a mood.

As Cuylan says himself, the mood he’s trying to create here is heartbreak. “We feel like we’re in control of our decisions, but it’s actually heartbreak that compels the actions that we take in life.”

And that sadness, melancholy, if you will, permeates No Such Thing As Free Will with some subdued, but at the same time impressive sounds.

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