May 8, 2021
Room40 RM 4124
Probably the oddest release to be titled “classical”, Greek composer Michalis Moschoutis’ four-track disc relate more to the mechanics of sound constructions than any notated music. Bereft of easily identifiable tones, the slowly unfolding program mixes and mulches timbres that are not only mutated from particular instruments such as piano, trumpet, saxophone, feedback tuba and various string apparatus like guitar and qanun or Arabic zither, but also the synthesis and reconstitution of surface and undersea water textures.
Although the only overt lapping water noises seem to arrive on “Sounio”. Mixed with piano chording, watery sliding in-and-out of aural focus timbres blend with reductionist instrumental cranks and drones throughout. All tracks are closely miked so that the spatial qualities of the landscape become another attribute to the creations.
With Moschoutis’ coiled spring crackles, bottle cap pops and cymbal resonations creating a percussive undercurrent, airy and polytonal buzzes predominate. Infrequently torqued with thunder-like shudders and wind whistling on “Soft Tissue”, reflective drones also dominate throughout. But the overall sense is that of following a slowly unfolding program, progressively adding novel and unexpected timbres as it evolves. Stretched to its logical extreme, with amplification from reed whistles, brass sighs and string fails along the way, the suite finally attains a minimized denouement with the hint of a pseudo-march tempo. Perhaps Moschoutis has created a new variant of so-called classical music. He has certainly produced something unique.
Track Listing: 1. Archery*+ 2. Classical Mechanics 3. Soft Tissue# 4. Sounio*
Personnel: Thalia Ioannidou (trumpet)* Ilam Manouch (soprano saxophone)+; Ingi Garðar Erlendsson (thranophone, rotating cymbals)#; Sofia Labropoulou (qanum, pedal steel guitar)#; Michalis Moschoutis (guitars, synthesizers, cymbals, piano, contact mics, sea shells, mouthpieces, springs)