* Edition of 300, comes with a printed insert * In addition to its deep investment in the notion of progress, experimental music is a territory of creative expression that searches for something fundamental through sound; a music that speaks to and seeks the root of who we are. Across his recent albums, the London based Greek composer, Tasos Stamou, has mined this rich and complex balance, looking toward the future through a series of electroacoustic compositions that channel the long musical history and culture of Greece. His latest, Antiqua Graecia, is the third in a stunning trilogy exploring the subject. Delving into deeply abstract territories, threaded by a startling sense of imagism that intertwines multiple pathways of creativity, culture, and temporality, the album unveils a singular artist voice working in our midst, while elevating the scope of electroacoustic practice to remarkable heights.
Since first emerging during the mid-2000s, Tasos Stamou - a composer, performer, instrument maker, and sound based technologist - has developed a fascinatingly unique vision of live and recorded electroacoustic composition, cultivating long-form works through a “portable electroacoustic music studio” that utilises acoustic sources - prepared zither, reeds, recorders, objects - and handmade electronics, modular synthesizers, and processed feedback loops. Constructed from sustained tonal textures and improvised instrumental solos that draw on numerous musical traditions - free improvised music, musique concrète, noise & drone, folklore and ritual/tribal music - his efforts present the atmosphere of ritual noise, while channeling deeply personal experiences relating to a given space or place.
Antiqua Graecia, the third in a series of albums by Stamou to directly confront the subject of his home country, elevates this practice to new heights. Comprising of electroacoustic compositions of startling density and richness - drawing on original acoustic recordings and electronic experiments and synthetic compositions - the album weaves striking impressions that inexplicably captures the essence and narratives of the Greek rural countryside within its deeply abstract depths. With references of antique folk instruments and voices embedded in the textures, tones, and atmospheres generated by analogue synthesizers and computer music structures, the album evolves into striking, almost collage like forms of a surreal fairytale, push forward with radical enthusiasms that bristle at the borders defined by the mid-20th century avant-garde.
An immersive and fascinating world of its own, it’s hard to call to mind anything in the contemporary landscape of experimental music that’s quite like Stamou’s Antiqua Graecia. With sounds that call up images of the ancient world, the present, and what has yet to be seen, the album reminds us of the vast possibilities presented by electronic practice as a vehicle for the exploration of social and cultural identity. Issued on vinyl by Ikuisuus in a very limited edition of 300 copies, we can’t possibly recommend it enough.