** Edition of 250 copies. Comes in screen-printed sleeve depicting an embroidery made by the composer's mother, Nefeli Papadaniel-Karageorgis** As vast and inclusive as the current context of recorded music is, there are still plenty of geographies that remain under-represented, if not almost entirely unheard, a reality that comes into stark focus when encountering the first outing by the fledgling imprint, Moneda, the Cypriot composer Evagoras Karageorgis’s Kenthmata (Embroideries). Recorded between 1987 and 1988, and remaining unreleased and almost entirely unknown over the years since, it’s a truly stunning expanse of percussive tonality, channeling ancient musical traditions into a striking rethinking of minimalism, and arguably the first electronic music album by a Cypriot composer. Beautiful beyond belief and creatively engrossing, from the first note to the last, you can’t help but wonder why Karageorgis isn’t already a household name.
Evagoras Karageorgis was born in 1957 in Tsada, a village in the district of Pafos, Cyprus in a family of musicians and instrumentalists, immersing his early years in traditional Cypriot music, before pursue Composition studies at Queen’s College / Aaron Copland School of Music (CUNY) in New York under Allen Brings and Leo Kraft, and at N.Y.U. under Menahem Zur. It was toward the end of this period - 1987/1988 - that he began to work on the works that would become Kenthmata in his home studio in Astoria, Queens.
An engrossing and entirely singular realisation of minimalism through its tonal relationships, Kenthmata is heavily structured by the looping techniques and cycling repetition that Karageorgis encountered in the works of Steve Reich and Philip Glass while living in New York.
However, the immediate similarities end there. The 10 works that comprise the albums 2 sides remain firmly rooted in ancient traditions and sounds of the composer’s Mediterranean birthplace, incorporating its ecstatic rhythms, sentiments of melancholy and mourning, and topical moods embedded by the 1974 war that tore his home country apart, brought to life in entirely new forms and temperaments by electronic sound and sequencing.
Nodding to its title, which translates as “Embroideries”, Kenthmata builds upon repetitive, pointillist movements, deftly deploying digital presets, FM Synthesis and sampling to reimagine and transform the musical traditions of Greek dance and Cypriot folk songs, as an immersive day dream of Karageorgis’ home. Striking tonal relationships ripple with the flavours of the musics of the Mediterranean and beyond - India, Persia, the Middle East, North Africa, etc - sending the mind tumbling toward glimpse of something fundamental, standing entirely separate from the European and American traditions most commonly associated with minimal music.
A truly stunning revelation that swells with cycling repetition, ecstatic rhythms, stunning harmonics, and immersive tones, forming an entirely singular rethinking of what minimal music might be. It baffles the mind to think that this masterstroke has been hiding in the shadows for over 30 years. Once heard, it’s impossible to get Evagoras Karageorgis out of your mind, leaving you desperate to hear more. Kenthmata is issued by Moneda in a stunning edition on Black Vinyl in a beautifully printed sleeve with insert. Not to be missed on any count. It’s easily one of the best records we’ve heard all year.