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Kolida Babo is the collaboration between two Greek woodwind musicians from separate regions - Socratis Votskos is from Pella, and Harris P is from Athens. This, their debut album, was recorded in improvised live-take sessions beginning on the night of the “Kolida Babo” folk rituals of music and dance in northern Greece in winter 2013. The sessions proceeded over three years, exploring the ancient music of Armenia and the folk traditions of northern Greece’s Epirus and Thrace regions alongside abstract electronics and free jazz.
As musicians of modern Greece, the sonic palette is developed in part as a means of processing the country’s immediate actualities: its relation to its regional traditions, its urban centres and its humanitarian and economic crises. In this, the music is at once clearly located in traditional sounds and disjointed from them, at times contrasting or harmonious in both concept and sound.
The Armenian Duduk that anchors the project is a double-reeded woodwind instrument made of apricot wood with thousands of years of history and generations of venerable masters - the duo cite Djivan Gasparyan as a main influence, and Harris studied with Vahan Galstyan. Traditionally its music is played in duet: a melody on one duduk, a low drone accompaniment (“the dum”) on another. Kolida Babo preserves and extends the dual nature of duduk music in many ways, replacing the dum at times with the tones of a moog synthesizer to allow the two players to weave harmonies together in duet. And there is a persistent duality in the braid of Kolido Babo’s sonic associations - modern and ancient, local and global - sometimes underpinning one another, sometimes undermining. “Sometimes we mock modern times and sometimes the other way around”, they say - it’s a collision, or an engagement, romantic or pugilistic, and the sense is of an experiment without expectation, without preciousness or exoticism of folk culture. The elements challenge each other and the listener - while the music is very much about texture and tone, the sounds aren’t clearly modern or ancient: it’s futile to identify, we’re reminded, and instead we experience the immediate presence and power of the combination. Influences include Armenian Folk music, Greek Rebetiko, German Kosmiche, Spiritual Jazz, the Fourth World Music of Brian Eno and John Hassell, British Trip Hop, Electrified West African Funk. But where these can be identified they are as sidelong journeymakers through the borderless idiolect belonging to the dialogue between the two players and enabling its free and full execution, subtle markers used to co-ordinate the collaboration.
Words by Theodore Leanse
HARRIS P: Moog Sub Phatty, Minimoog, Armenian Duduk, Frame Drum, Roland (Jupiter 6, JX10), Electronic Percussion, Atmospherics
SOCRATIS VOTSKOS: Clarinet, Armenian Duduk (Bb), Electric bass, Soprano Sax, Baritone Sax, Bagpipe (Gaida), Piano
NICK VARELAS: Armenian Dhol, Bendir, Daf
NICK PALLIS: Accordion (appears on “Passing By” only)
Kolida Babo recorded at Aridaia in 2013. All other tracks recorded at Aridaia, Thessaloniki and Athens between December 2015 – December 2017.
Mix and sound treatments by Harris P. at Spaceship Beats Studio
Mastered by Jason Goz at Transition Mastering
KOLIDA BABO Thanks:
Many thanks to our families: Marianthi, Vasilis, Myrofora, Melpomeni, Stamatis, Korina, Maria and the other Kolida Babo members Fotini, Maria Petroutsou for her Kolida Babo logo and QuickRadicalMind...with a collective spirit/attitude/philosophy, aiming for direct access to expression, creativity and art.
Socratis & Harris, Laura Murray, Paul Camo & Maisie, Theodore Leanse, Theo Fabunmi-Stone, Jeyda Bicer, Kris Jones, SunCut, Jason Goz, Sheikh Ahmed, Ergin Hussein, Sam Blair and to the future stars of tomorrow Tate, Elise & Nelson.
Welcome to the latest radio show for the excellent Music For Dreams radio station and it starts with a selection of some of the globe's finest fusion with a look to the countries east of Europe's borders before we turn our attentions to the new sounds of Africa. Balearic boogie is then the order of the day before an ambient left turn, a touch of acid folk and a horizontal finale.
Baba ZuLa - Kosmogoni (Glitterbeat)
Guzz - 如梦如醒 Half-awake (Self Release)
Salamanda - Jenga (Tonal Unity)
ODD OKODDO - Aora Odinona Yo (Pingipung)
Isaac Birituro and The Rail Abandon - Bo Ma (Wah Wah)
Moon Duo - Flying (Sacred Bones)
An-2 - The Gift, D-Pulse Mediterranean Mix Pt. 1 (Theomatic)
Meetsysteem - Vraag Je Af (Nous'klaer Audio)
Karaba - Der Inder (Kryptox)
OHIO - Crépescule (12K)
Pan-American - Shenandoah (Kranky promo)
Wet Tuna - Roam (Three Lobed)
Hilyard - Somnolent (Stereoscenic)
Don't forget our daily social media recommendations. No information overload, one recommendation a day, only the good stuff. We've also got a podcast and mad playlists on various services - link to them all from the website homepage.
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Welcome to the sound of Garcia Peoples at full speed. Without losing a ray of sunshine or a drop of dew, One Step Behind is the first major statement by the malleable Brooklyn sextet. The 32-minute title cut highlights the twin guitars and songwriting of Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki and, instead of pointing itself towards one possible future for the band, just zaps itself square into the thick of it. Encompassing a range of moods and scenes in one flowing arc (plus a coda), it’s less a piece of music to listen to than it is a zone to occupy, a portal for all open-eared heads.
The band’s third album in a year-and-a-half, One Step Behind is unquestionably their boldest yet. Formed in New Jersey by Malach and Arakaki, the band took a few years to find their flying shape, solidifying into a lineup with Danny’s brother Cesar on drums and Derek Spaldo on bass by mid-2016. Ramping up their acceleration around the time of their 2018 Cosmic Cash debut, they’ve blasted through residencies and new songs and sessions and collaborations, leaving a trail of live tapes in their wake, along with the crashing power of 2019’s Natural Facts follow-up, and scaling ever upwards. It’s been a little dizzying to watch. You’re jamming with who? Even so, One Step Behind might still come as a surprise to those who’ve been keeping up with the tapes.
Recorded and assembled at Black Dirt Studio with Jason Meagher (Jack Rose, Steve Gunn), “One Step Behind”--and One Step Behind--opens with the newest auxiliary Garcia: Tom’s father Bob Malach. A veteran sax player with a CV that includes Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Miles Davis, the Asbury Jukes, Arto Lindsay, Barbra Streisand, and Steve Miller to (seriously) name just a few, the elder Malach contributes twin overdubbed saxophone parts, channeling Terry Riley--soon joined by Tom and Danny in interlocking guitar bliss--before blowing it out at the end. In between comes Danny’s floating song, more jams, and wild organ by Pat Gubler, ascending from auxiliary collaborator to full-fledged Garcia, and providing a linkage from the Garcias’ millennial jams to the freaky lo-fi sound scenes of ‘90s Massachusetts.
It’s not quite the literal flip, since the title piece sprawls over onto the back of the LP, but the second song on the album--only eight minutes--is another new move for Garcia Peoples, too. Written and sung by bassist Derek Spaldo, moving over to piano for the first time, “Heart and Soul” is a more contemplative place for the band. Appearing on record for the first time is Andy Cush, who occupies the bass chair for most of the band’s shows, Spaldo now dwelling outside of regular gig range. Intending to record Spaldo’s gentle song as a short postscript, “Heart and Soul” grew into its own soundspace, as Garcia Peoples’ songs sometimes do. Gubler plays flute, and they go full glow.
With a stash of live recordings accumulating at the Live Music Archive, Garcia Peoples’ music is very much a living entity. Since the release of their previous two albums, songs have started to expand, jam suites have grown, and experiments have been undertaken. The first part of 2019 has seen Garcia Peoples back Philadelphia guitarist Chris Forsyth (an expanded Solar Peoples Band has hit double-drummer overdrive several times now), and joined with guitarist Ryley Walker. They’ve improvised on WFMU, and jammed with the sounds of ocean waves and falling rain at strange late night happenings. Probably something else new and wonderful and weird has happened in the Garciaverse since I wrote this.
Whether or not you thought you knew Garcia Peoples’ music, One Step Behind is something new and beautiful, for new heads and old. No matter where you stand--behind, beyond, or another plane altogether--One Step Behind is ready. For those about to get on the Bus, we salute you.
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Antony Ryan and Robin Saville – the inventors of electronica – are returning with their ninth studio album. Three years in the making, “The Lamenting Machine” will go down in history as the deepest and most satisfying chapter yet in the ongoing musical conversation between these brilliant musicians. Subtle yet mesmerizing melodies evoking long forgotten memories, calmly throbbing bass figurines pulsing gently along – all paying tribute to free-floating rhythms and their eternal noises. ISAN has always been an intimate and personal take on electronic music.
Produced both in Denmark and the UK in their respective studios, each of the eight tracks symbolises a sea of blossom carefully crafted and tended to, bringing color and hope to today’s fragile and volatile world. And while there is definitely a lot worth lamenting about, ISAN’s machine of the same name is an explorational celebration of their own musical past, once more bringing to the surface the project’s essence of aural delight.
Listening to ISAN requires time, but it is time well invested. While sounding exquisitely lighthearted from the outside, a closer inspection reveals a richly orchestrated and multi-layered musical riddle, mimicking a hedge maze of gargantuan scale and complexity, with each tone and each rhythmic pattern to be dissected, analysed and understood individually in order to find the way out. Getting lost in the moment while doing so never felt better. ISAN’s music has always had this quality, yet reflecting on their own past more consciously, the music on the new album redefines this approach in a more precise and gratifying way than ever before. While wholeheartedly shimmering and drenched in beauty, in order to fully appreciate the whole scale of ISAN, it is key to bravely engage with the underlying vagueness and fuzziness lingering in the tracks.
Human beings are not perfect. Neither are the means with which they produce music. This very realization has always played an integral role defining, carving and polishing the project’s musical identity. Letting each piece of gear be true to itself, accepting its flaws as part of its unique personality, and turning these frailties into a starting point of inter-circuitry communication, ISAN has been at the forefront of humanising technology and eliminating the dystopian men machine debate, clearing the table for a better future. This approach actually requires time in the studio as well: circuits need time to warm up, get to know each other, understand the energy flowing through the cables connecting them, figuring out what to do and what they really want. This process is not so much about giving up control, but rather to moderate a constant exchange of ideas. Having perfected this technique over the last two decades, ISAN are finally ready to share their very own approach with the rest of the world. With newly set-up channels on both Instagram and YouTube, Ryan and Saville opened the windows into their studios, offering a glimpse into how their most magical album yet came into being. There really is no lamenting to be done. Not at all.
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Cyclical patterns, dualities, and textural ambience are the main features, culminating in this last piece that opens with two repeating guitar chords set against looping pickup noise. Strings gradually layer in, fragmenting and drawing on earlier motifs heard throughout the LP. Felted piano, lifted from the opening track, connects the whole project in yet another loop. A pulsing analog synth slowly drives the piece to its climax and eventual conclusion.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS
Lazy Days, Hazy Moments & Dancing to a Slower Groove