Deep in the forest outside of Berlin, one of rock and roll’s most under-the-radar yet omnipresent figures is putting the finishing touches on his latest solo record, but traces of Mark Sultan can be found around the world. Cosigned by celebrated labels In The Red, Last Gang, Crypt, Fat Possum, Dirtnap, Goner, Sub Pop, Vice, Bomp!, Norton, Sympathy For The Record Industry, and Wick (Daptone Records), you’re bound to have come across something with Sultan’s name on it, where over the course of multiple decades he’s compiled an insane discography built from the strength of multiple albums, side projects, and top-shelf solo efforts, always with a strong deposition towards taking classic garage rock sounds and contorting them in experimental and twisted new ways. For his most recent effort — written, recorded and produced in his own Personal Imperfection studio in Germany — Sultan once again ups the ante, working to implement a full band and fully fleshed-out instrumentation. Still encompassing the ethos of individuality and charisma that has helped his sound transcend any era by which you might try to nail him down, it may be his most cohesive statement yet.
Sultan has been quietly making moves for decades, earning the respect of legends like Jon Spencer and Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox, who have covered his songs and sung his accolades. Touring the world incessantly with his collaborative efforts with King Khan (as King Khan & BBQ show) and with Bloodshot Bill (as the Ding Dongs), his constant state of proliferation also led to involvement in Black Lips’ supergroup the Almighty Defenders, where the much mythologized band of brothers wrote, recorded and mixed eleven tracks in the span of eight days. Part gospel, part soul, the resulting accomplishment was a testimony of hook-filled rhythm and blues as only Sultan could forge, a boundary-pushing fusion of genres that still defies expectation.
On his new record Let Me Out, Sultan lets his own voice shine more effusively than ever before. Through thirteen tracks filled with his signature moody, ‘60s-inspired garage rock ’n' roll, Sultan “doesn't simply revive old sounds and old excitements; he ingests them, digests them, and regurgitates them as something new and personal” (Pitchfork). His unmistakeable vocals, instantly transportive to rock’s most vintage moments, breathe new life and bridge periods of time to convey the kind of music that stays with you long after it's over. After all these years, Let Me Out further cements Sultan as someone who has no chance of slowing down — but this time, the world might finally be catching up.