Gaël Segalen – Sofia Says LP
With the sounds of "L' Ange Le Sage" still echoing in the back of my mind and its 'danceable field recordings' (as Gaël Segalen describes it) did I receive my copy of "Sofia Says" cassette (originally issued on tape by Coherent States and a few months ago a vinyl version was issued as a three label split (Sofia, Erratum, Coherent States) sometime ago. Being in a stack of 'stuff-to-listen-to' I listened to it in a hurry and shelved it on the 'to-listen-properly-when-time-whenever-is-found' stack but in between the vinyl version of it arrived and while was trying to find to listen properly to the tape I caught myself this very weekend spending almost an entire day listening to this stunning beauty.
As is nothing but a well constructed obscure soundscape which brings in mind industrialish nightmares, difficult 'ambient' (call it so or whatever) fields, narrated in such a way that as sounds come and go in the foreground and the background of the work(s) don't let the listener's attention unattended of this flabbergasting audio web. On the contrary as this grim audio navigation flows you are captured in an environment that brings more in mind a soundtrack (allow me to say) that starts with the industrial sounds of "Like Warehouse" and as it evolves gets you to a slightly different mood of its second side (well, if streaming you will get this feeling either way) and the amazing "I'll see you again" a piece whose throbbing background pulses and the noisy foreground sounds brought a vague memory of the more 'psychedelic' atmosphere of "L'Ange Le Sage" all of a sudden, but whose evolution gets you to more frenetic dimensions, making it overall one of my favest releases for 2019.
If you are looking for truly adventurous, demanding and difficult music that on one hand has a touch of the past as reminds 'classic' industrial, obscure ambient paths (e.g. lovers of the early drone records era will fall in love with this one) but on the other breathes a new freshness to it then without second thoughts go and dig this gem!
Kohma is the improvising duo of George Mizithras (turntables, tapes, electronics, cracked media - (https://www.facebook.com/giwrgos.mizi) and George Kokkinaris (contrabass - https://kokkinaris.bandcamp.com) or at least one of the outfits that someone can trace them nowadays being both busy bees of the local free improv / electronics scene. Both play either solo or in various groups and combinations.
Mizithras at least according to my little knowledge is mostly into cracked electronics (& electronics in general) though Kokkinaris is balancing between more classical musics trained schemes and paths but also in free improvised grounds too.
On Sunday, March the 3rd they organized a workshop in the 'gallery n', which is actually nothing but a name occasionally used by the Greek composer (also viola da gamba player, performer, e.a.) Nicoleta Chatzopoulou for her studio when is used as a place for small concerts or such workshops. You can get more infos on the gallery and her work here: https://www.nicoletachatzopoulou.com
I won't say much about the workshop as I didn't attend it so I don't wanna mumble about something I didn't experience.
However the whole event was divided in two parts. The workshop that started in the evening and after a while turned to a session of 'soul kitchen' actually cooking by Virgina Viel (excuse me but I don't know more infos on her or her work) to continue around 20.30 with the duo improvisation of Mizithras and Kokkinaris.
Must admit that was my first acquaintance with their work, and I enjoyed a lot the skills and work of George Mizithras, not to underestimate of course Kokkinaris. Perhaps I write so as I am a lot into turntablism, cracked everyday electronics and so..
On one hand you had Mizithras playing with this turntables and tapes and on the other Kokkinaris whose playing sounded to me as someone who is still balancing between a more classical trained background but who slowly breaks into new grounds in the fields of improvised musics and on.
Some parts of the set were great, while some others gave me the feeling that if they continue improvising together even more sooner or later a more moving language will emerge.
That is not to underrate their set. On the contrary the contradiction between the amplified set of Mizithras and the acoustic set of Kokkinaris created a promising atmosphere, perhaps it didn't turn to a real blaster but this is a duo in their first efforts so there's more to come I guess.
What I enjoyed a lot was that both were allowing space for each other to say his own words while playing something that I always considered it important in a music dialogue. In many cases Kokkinaris's playing reminded me later of his recent 'Touch' CD and the eight solo improvisations it includes.
Overall it wasn't a bad introduction to their work but turned a good free improv night out!
For those of you on Facebook, you can watch a brief excerpt from the performance by Kohma at Noise, Silence, What Now #2 here: https://www.facebook.com/events/306740153523998/permalink/316004375930909/
You can listen to an earlier performance by Kohma here:
It all started as usually such things happen.
I was doing the car washing in the building's pilotis the other day I picked a leaf that had fallen on the car's roof.
When done with the car washing picked up the leaf, went to the nearby xerox shop and asked the friend who runs it to laminate it having in mind to post it to ken montgomery.
However as I was ambiguous of which side to use as front and back posted it in an envelope including a note of my question, asking him to decide which side fits best.
And here's the answer I received a few weeks later...
belongs to those prolific 'tape' labels
(no matter they have co-produced a vinyl LP and a couple of lathes and CD-Rs too)
that have emerged in the Greek scene during this decade.
It certainly belongs to my favorite ones regarding its sound.
No matter that at the moment there are also extremely interesting CDR/tape labels around the country such as Several Minor Promises from the isle of Corfu and its industrialish ambient sounds; the ever amazing nekubi from the city of Kavala with its stellar hip hop/trip-hop, soul/funkish sounds; Numb Capsule from the city of Edessa and its more techno, ambient sounds; E.D.A.; Panos Alexiadis's superb Thalamos (the latter two from Athens); and more to mention spanning a variety of genres from techno to harsh noise or improv to electroacoustics turning this way our local scene to a weird and challenging garden of sounds.
Coherent States has made an impact not also for the label's sound but for the packaging of their releases, including in many -if not all- cases extra limited editions of the (already) limited ones.
Besides their releases so far they have offered a couple of memorable label showcases in various venues of the city of Athens. The most recent of which included a superb mini fest that took place in the Boiler bar (located in Athens's downtown) on Thursday the 3rd of May.
The night started with the lo-fi guitar noise sounds of Dead Gum, solo project of Panagiotis Spoulos, the mastermind behind the great Phase! records and tons of other projects. A show that can be just a lo-fi guitar bliss or can turn to a more noisy or even industrialish nightmare depending on the way Panagiotis develops each set. This one was of those I enjoy attending in recent years. Short as it has to be, lo-fi noisy with those industrialish touches that has to have at times plus his manipulated voice that created the opening atmosphere of the night.
Following was the duo of Kostis Kilymis and Judith Hamann that took us to more improvised electronics/music territories with Judith Harmann's manipulated cello sounds and Kostis's throbbing electronics, which made a different yet also interesting atmosphere. Guess it was the set that needed as a balance between the Dead Gum and the Sick Llama set that followed.
It was the first time I attended a Sick Llama set and gotta be honest, I was expecting to listen to a harsh noise set or something like that. Instead I was totally surprised to find me in a more lo-fi, tape, noisy atmosphere that was extremely entertaining for my ears (& guess the rest of the audience's too) with sounds and performance like style features that slowly led to a noisy set which made me a nice impact.
And then came the night's closing set, the one of Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson. Gotta admit it was the set I longed to see as I have been a big fan of Siggy's work for a long time and I was curious what we were about to attend. Siggy played a record and manipulated sounds he had already prerecorded and actually did one of the most amazing performances I've attended the last few months (even more I think) in Athens. To be honest, as Nicolas Collins has once said, spending close to nine hours a day in an office in front of a PC I usually get bored going out to attend a concert and see someone sitting in front of a laptop getting even bored than his audience does. And luckily this was exactly the opposite. A physical performance of almost repetitive sentences that brought to mind some of the most beloved Scandinavian text sound faves, not even to mention all time sound/concrete poetry fave ones, leaving us all with some of the most intense and loving memories, and it worked fine as the night's closing.
That was all about this so well structured and so great balanced (regarding the sound of the sets) night.
The second event Coherent States organized a week after the aforementioned showcase was a magic night at the National Observatory of Athens. Built on the hill of the Nymphs, in the area of Thisseio, near the Acropolis in 1846 and a sister building extremely opposite (where the memorable night took place) a bit later remains one of the city's most beloved places to visit. And we are very lucky as in recent years the Observatory's administration has been more open to the public not just for public visits (compared to the past) but also a series of various interesting performances (dealing not only with sound but with visual or
applied arts as well) have taken place in its area.
So on the Thursday on May the 10th and divided in two groups thanks to the limited space of the building we had the chance not only to be inside one of country's most historical buildings, sitting around one of the first telescopes of the Observatory ordered and built in 1902, but we had the rare chance to attend one of Panos Alexiadis's truly adventurous sets. Being active into creating music and sounds for more than two decades in the local scene and spanning various sound genres (from death/black metal projects to ambient and electroacoustics) he has achieved to create a special voice of his own regarding his sound and last Thursday's set was nothing but another proof of it. Having not seen him performing for sometime I enjoyed a lot the way he played with his sound layers and the way he built his soundscape making it fit to the surrounding area. It was also a stunning experience the idea of opening just a little the tholos of the observatory and the few light inside the building together with the natural light coming from outside plus Panos's sounds created a truly flabbergasting experience.
Being in the first group that we attended the performance that took place between 21.00-22.00 missed the second group's experience as the set was a bit altered but also incredible as I was told. And definitely what also turned this event to an amazing and unforgettable night was the arrangement of Coherent States with the team of the Observatory to use that historic telescope for star observation allowing us (also we were very lucky regarding the weather as well) to observe the planet Jupiter (and its surrounding satellites) that turned this night to some of my most unforgettable ones!
Bravo Coherent States for those two stellar days!
nicolas malevitsis's obsessions