I’m very pleased to announce that I have finally finished Part I of my field recording project, ΨΗΧΟΣ – Ορχήστρα Θορύβου (PSIHOS – Orhistra Thorivu | FROZEN SOUND – Noise Orchestra)
It comprises six pieces of musique concrète in the form of sound collage. Composed of field recordings sourced over the course of two years, across five cities, arranged and looped to create an abstract audio narrative. From morning coffee to a nightmarish apartment building scene, then heading to Zizkov and other neighbourhoods of Prague, returning to Greece and the cities of Trikala and Meteora over Easter, down to the Peloponnese and the small mountainous village of Partheni in Arkadia, and back to Athens again.
You can give it a listen below:
Each track aims to transfer the listener to a specific place and scene. Each sound has been minimally edited, to retain its original, raw qualities — from the passing cars and the wind to birdsong and collateral noise. Sounds include but are not limited to: AM radio static, noisy neighbours, power drill, skipping record, children’s playground, spoon, tripping on acid through abandoned train tunnel at night, wind blowing through metal door in Zizkov, water faucet, loose pavement tiles, Japanese gong, pan lid, monk bells in Meteora monastery, spring storm, match that won’t light, belled Babuska doll when played with by a cat.
Between switching jobs, getting a touch of thee ol’ depression and grieving, and after an amazingly successful show with Endropi and great feedback to the FEF release, both of which took months to prepare, it’s time for a short break. There are a bunch of exciting new punk, hardcore, noise and indie releases coming from Greece, so we’ll be catching up with them in early 2019. ΨΧΣ will be back next year with new sounds.
We’ll be kicking off 2019 with some rad shows and I’ve got a hot surprise up my sleeve for January… So stray tuned!
Did an interview with Athens’ Chain Cult for MRR. Get the hard copy, Maximum Rocknroll #425, Oct. 2018 here. Also check out MRR‘s snazzy new website—it looks totally killer! ❤
Haven’t had time to write or upload any info for past Storm Stereo shows, as this summer has been hella busy, hectic, stressful, sad, exciting and fun all at the same time, between guests here, visiting Berlin for Atonal, losing both friends and family, and hustling to make rent. Δε θα’ρθει η ξεκούραση για τους καταραμένους.
I did, however, finally get round to the Japanese Special, which you can hear in Five Parts. Featuring minimalism, avant garde, noise, weirdo pop,hardcore and post punk, and of course D-beat and crasher crust—that last show courtesy of Bak at Scull Crasher Distro (word on the street is a new No Exit zine is in the slow works…). You can also check out new Greek punk and hardcore releases via his e-store.
Also got round to dedicating a show to the amazing women of the rebetiko sound and some other stunning women vocalists from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s in Greece, plus another couple of your usual mixed bag shows. You can check all that out here.
Next week we return with a killer new show for the new season, chock-full of new punk, hardcore, post-punk, D-beat, metal and more from Greece, Europe, the US and UK, SEA and more, and all tracks hand-picked by Under the Demos!
We’re back with another episode of your favourite autobiographical radio show. A typical mixed bag for you this time, half-inspired by Halim el-Dabh‘s birthday and half-inspired by a Nikola Tesla quote. El-Dabh was an Egyptian-American composer, musician, teacher and ethnomusicologist whom I recently discovered, and have been in awe of his work ever since. A pioneer of tape music and early musique concrete, he very correctly realized that life is vibration, and this powerful notion—whether pertaining to life or music—really struck a chord in me (vibration pun intended). When I saw we share a birthday (he would have been 97 this Sunday, March 4), I realized I just had to pay my respects on this show.
We also get introduced to the musical mind of Charles Cohen and his project with Jeff Cain, the Ghostwriters. Cohen passed away last year and I have found his (limited recorded) output to be very moving. He didn’t really believe in recording and his music was almost all improvisational, using the incredible, rare Buchla analog synthesizer – an instrument we’ve heard on this show before played by Suzanne Ciani, among others, and which we’ll be exploring further one day.
Also new on this show is Ghédalia Tazartès, a cult French artist whose music can be as difficult as it is beautiful, and Dorothy Carter, an American musician who experimented with a number of incredible instruments, such as the hammered dulcimer, zither, psaltery, and hurdy-gurdy. Do you know any of those instruments? No, me neither, that’s why I was so intrigued! We’ll be hosting an Unusual and Rare Instruments Special in the future, so stray tuned.
If you’ve heard this show before, you know I love the eastern sound and how it differs to the western scale of music, so we travel to Lebanon and Turkey in the ’70s and ’80s, with music from Elias Rahbani, Arif Sağ , and Hülya Süer. Both these countries had fascinating musical output, be it folk, pop, psych rock, jazz, experimental classical and everything in between.
We detour via Mali and hear the duet Amadou et Mariam and their endearing track “Je Pense a Toi,” which beautifully mixes traditional musical elements with the romanticism of the French language, and listen to a manifesto of sorts (“Against”) by poet Dinos Christianopoulos, put to music by Pleasure Constitution (Σύνταγμα της Ηδονής) from Greece. We stay in Turkey for a few final minutes, by way of Romanian duo Khidja and their track “Drums of Taksim.” I may have been wrong when I said the spoken word used on this track comes from a lecture. Irrelevant of the source, however, the words are so powerful and intense, I hope it will impact you the way it impacted me.
We close it off with Burqa Boyz, about whom I could find almost zero information but who have a couple really good tapes you can hear online.
Until next week, I’ll be celebrating another year under the sun. “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” —Nikola Tesla
With love from outer space
HALIM EL-DABH – My Life is Vibration
HALIM EL-DABH – Element, Being and Primeval
THE GHOSTWRITERS – Boticelli Rewind
DOROTHY CARTER – Autumn Song
ELIAS RAHBANI – I Think of You
ARIF SAG – Şu Samsunun Evleri
HÜLYA SÜER – Şeker Oğlan
GHÉDALIA TAZARTÈS – Yama Yama
AMADOU ET MARIAM – Je Pense a Toi
TO SYNDAGMA TIS IDONIS (PLEASURE CONSTITUTION) – Enandion (Against)
KHIDJA – Drums of Taksim
BURQUA BOYZ – Chunk Up the Duce (CC remix)
Part II of the Greek Special, featuring post-punk, synth pop, new wave from the ’80s and ’90s, plus a couple newer tracks. Sorry for the lack of written info on this one, things have been extra busy. I’ll get back to add some thoughts to this when I have some time. Thanks for listening and thanks to M. for reminding me of how great some of these punks bands were!
If all goes well, we’re planning on recording a special series of shows, centred around the book The Rock Diaries (Τα Ροκ Ημερολόγια) by Yiorgos Tourkovasilis, originally published in 1986 and repressed in 2016. Our plan is to narrate the book—which is a vibrant, colourful verbal history of youth and music subcultures in Greece during the ’70s and ’80s—to discuss a couple of the larger issues covered (μπίρι-μπίρι), and of course to play some Greek punk music for you!
Stray tuned on that one, though it will all be in Greek. (Translation ideas already spring to mind of course—perhaps next year!)
Enjoy last week’s show. Until next time, stay humble, try and do something you enjoy every day, and make those goodbye kisses count. You never know when you’re gonna get hit by a bus…
With love from outer space,
ARNAKIA – Diver of the Sky
AT LAST – Nothingness
RODONDO ROCKS – Listen to the Wind Blow
TO SYDAGMA TIS IDONIS – You Came When I…
CLOWN – White Cells
PETUNIA PIG – A Dream So Grey
THE ANTI-TROPPAU COUNCIL – Insanity
CAPTAIN NEFOS – Crystal Palace
AUSSCHWITSS – Threat
ANYPOFORI – 8 Fores (8 Times)
IN TRANCE 95 – Presidente
KYOTO – Silver to Silk
X-BEAT – One With the Night
SIGMAY FAY – Tonight
IHORYPANSI – Only for You
LOST BODIES – Orange Tree
I’m very excited about this week’s show. Like all Storm Stereos, it’s directly connected to what’s happening in my life at the moment, and I’ve had the pleasure of being reintroduced to the past. It’s funny how you can listen to something and it won’t really register, or you’ll forget about it, or it’ll just get lost among the dozens of mentally, digitally and physically created lists of songs. Since I’ve been back in Athens, I’ve been remapping and rediscovering my connection to the city – whether through bands, historical accounts, neighbourhoods, show spaces, and friends old and new. It’s rather endearing when you can return to a place you had once all but written off to find there are actually a myriad ways to experience it, redefine your perception of it and ultimately strengthen your bond.
So when a friend played Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark for me and reminded me of how great they are (and not just for their use of the Mellotron!), it seemed apt to open with them. “Each time I look at you, is like the first time, each time you’re near me, the thrill is new.”
So, we delve into the past (briefly) and listen to Συνθετικοί and Χωρίς Περιδέραιο, two synthwave bands that were part of a larger (post)punk scene that incorporated (killer) synths, the most well-known being ANTI… but also Anypofori, Ausschwitss, Clown, Chapter 24 and more (more on these bands next week!). As with most Greek bands of the time, the music is steeped in melancholy and heart-squeezing melodies and introspective or challenging lyrics to match. On “Είναι Σίγουρο” (“It Is Certain”), Synthetics sing: “In my room, see colourful posters, heroes who fill you with memories, all heroes are fake, this whole world is fake, you feel alone, you are alone.” Pretty existential stuff, not surprising given the climate of the dying 1980s and the disillusionment felt by the leather-jacket-clad youth with the crazy hair. Also how good are the kaleidoscopic vocals at the end of that song?
Then we zoom back to the present and head to Thessaloniki, Greece’s beautiful and vibrant capital of the north. We listen to a new project, Mazoha (Masochist), which totally fucking rocks! Just on the first listen I could hear all these great influences coming through: from Wipers-esque guitars, to raw, ’80s drum machine beats, synths and bass that recall ΟΔΟΣ 55 and sarcastic lyrics (that reminded me a bit of Όρεξη για Τίποτα somehow). I could see it fitting perfectly on a split record with Gay Anniversary from Athens. Also wanna see this live so I can cry/dance along to “Υπεραναισθησία” (“Hyperanesthesia)! “I should not see you again, not think of you again, you give me all the things I don’t need, you bring me panic, so what if we were lovers, so what if I told you I love you?”
We then skip along to the UK for a minute and listen to Retrofuture, a really great band from London that mixes beautiful vocals with indie guitars and dreamy synths – the vocals on that track for some reason reminded me of Belly and other 4AD bands, which is great ’cause 4AD is one of my favourite labels. Top stuff! In keeping with the synth theme, Fata Morgana also give us one hell of a catchy track with analog gear! Then we head to Turkey and listen to She Past Away, a band that’s been around for a few years now and that deserve your attention for their mix of moody post-punk and synth/coldwave. Likewise, Night Thoughts from Cardiff (feat. members of Chain of Flowers), and Cold i from Athens (feat. members of Valpourgia Nychta and Unfit Earth – the Volos band, not the metal band) and Chain Cult from Athens (feat. members of Archi tou Telous, Lifewreck, Dirty Wombs, on tour with Pol Pot whom we also listen to) will sit well with fans of dark, guitar-driven, bass-heavy post-punk (love the chorus vocals on every one of these songs!)
Also on this show we check out what’s happening on the hardcore front, starting with Asid from Sheffield, one of the city’s finest new bands, of which it has many! Sheffield also has a wicked show space that is under threat, so if you can, why not donate to help them keep the punk alive?
We continue with a web of punks making up a bunch of really great Athens bands. Let’s see, there’s Antimob, who have raging new material after a long time (damn you Panos, your solos are fire!), this time in the form of a split 7″ with brotherly-band Χωρίς Οίκτο (Horis Ikto) (their guitarist also plays bass in Antimob, the drummer also sings and drums in Paroxysmos, the bassist plays guitar in Sarabante, and the singer also plays in Cut Off), then there’s Μόλυσμα (Molisma) (featuring members of Sarabante and the Vagabonds 77, they’ll be playing with Arms Race here in Athens in February) and Παροξυσμός (Paroxysmos), who, in my humble opinion, have all the best elements of what Greek punk and hardcore means to me, bringing to mind classic GRHC bands like Antidrasi and Forgotten Prophesy, with top-notch vocals and grazing guitars. The singer/drummer is one to keep an eye on, as his playing is matched by his excellent influences and deep knowledge of punk, hardcore and metal music. Great stuff!
And, even though technically not based in Greece though informed by their Greek and New York punk and hardcore heritages, we also listen to Mati, from Queens, NYC. Mati along with Efialtis from London are the only two bands I know of that exist outside Greece who both have (sick!) vocals in Greek. Perhaps the most famous Greek diaspora punk band is Free Yourself, who started playing in 1992 in Dusseldorf, Germany, but after that my radar goes blank. If you know of any other Greek diaspora punk bands I’m not aware of, please do get in touch!
Until next time, don’t let the winter blues get you down! Next week we have Part 2 of the Greek special, with more post-punk, new wave, synthpop and more! Stray tuned, this Wednesday 10-11pm on intersonik.net.
With love from outer space,
Storm Stereo #36 tracklist
ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK – The More I See You
ΣΥΝΘΕΤΙΚΟΙ / SYNTHETICS – Είναι Σίγουρο / It Is Certain
ΧΩΡΙΣ ΠΕΡΙΔΕΡΑΙΟ / HORIS PERIDEREO – 48 Σιωπές / 48 Silences
MAZOHA – Υπεραναισθησία / Hyperanesthetized
RETROFUTURE – Cult of the Sun
FATA MORGANA – Historias del Oriente
SHE PAST AWAY – Kasvetli Kutlama
NIGHT THOUGHTS – Owl in Daylight
COLD I – Flower Garden
CHAIN CULT – Empty Hearts
POL POT – We Need Lasers
SKELETAL FAMILY – Promised Land
ASID – Bastards
MOLISMA – Μάτια Γεμάτα Τρόμο / Eyes Full of Terror
MATI – Αυτοκτονία / Suicide
ΧΩΡΙΣ ΟΙΚΥΟ / HORIS IKTO – Τέλος / End
ANTIMOB – Με το Κεφάλι Κάτω / With Your Head Down
PAROXYSMOS – Μολυσμένα Ένστικτα / Infected Instincts
Another show ready for your audio pleasure. We return to one-hour length, short and sweet, with more focus.
We kick in with a now-classic, almost timeless gem by Yves Tumor, a musical master of our times, truly. His whole record Serpent Music is brilliant. We keep it mellow with a sweet and charming track by Savages and something equally dreamy by Armen Miran (those vocal samples!) – a new discovery for me, who is opening me up to the world of underground Armenian electronic music. A special on the underground electronic scenes of Armenia, Georgia, and Morocco among other places will follow in the near future, so stray tuned if that’s your jam.
I’ve being a Parov Stelar fan for well over a decade and, though his swing-revival chill-out house (which many know him for) is not my cup of tea, I find what he does to be of consistent quality – plus I’m a sucker for violins and heartbreaking vocals like on “Beauty Mark.” We keep in line with my marimba obsession and listen to something from Tonio Rubio’s excellent (and only) LP Rhythms, and something by no-inroductions-needed minimalist Steve Reich, a fellow marimba-lover.
Seeing as the day of this show, January 31, was Philip Glass’ birthday, we also hear something from his Reworks album – which is an amazing compilation of reworked Glass tracks by some of the best – then transition via a brass connection and move further electronically afield into Tau City and a coming storm.
We close it all off with an all-time fave track of mine, “Do What You Want” from 2002 and some ever-enjoyable Timothy J. Fairplay.
Next week prepare for a gear-shift, as we enter the fast lane with some punk and hardcore! Until then, stay strong, fuck national pride, fight fascism!
With love from outer space
STORM STEREO #36
YVES TUMOR – The Feeling When You Walk Away
SAVAGES – You’re My Chocolate
ARMEN MIRAN – For Eternity
PAROV STELAR & ANDUZE- Beauty Mark
TONIO RUBIO – Dead Slow
STEVE REICH – Mallet Quarter
PHILIP GLASS – Alight Spiral Snip (Dan Deacon Rework)
THE CONNECTION MACHINE – Echoes from Tau City
HODGE – There is a Storm Coming In
JACE FROM OUTTA SPACE & CLAIRE SKY – Do What You Want
TIMOTHY J. FAIRPLAY – Messengers of Deception
For all you boppers in the big city, this is the Soundtrack Special. Seems appropriate, as some really incredible music has been written for the big (and small) screen.
We kick it off with a retribution concept that’s dear to me, followed by the bombastic opening music to Preacher. I was thrilled when they announced that the amazing comic book series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon would be taken to the screen, though I was initially a bit disappointed with the result. I was expecting something closer to the graphic novels, though I did eventually warm up to the series and I look forward to the next season. Cassidy for eva!
We also listen to something from the empowering cult movie Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! that made quite an impression on me when I saw it in high school. Another movie that really stuck with me was Sweet Bunch, by Nikos Nikolaidis, one of Greece’s greatest underground and experimental filmmakers. His whole filmography is deeply interesting and I highly recommend it. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas could of course not be missing from this show – I’ve been a Gonzo fan for half my life, and the soundtrack to that movie is part of the fabric of the stories he tells, whether real or parts of an unwinding drug trip.
The Craft was also one of my favourite movies growing up (Fairuza Balk was my style icon!) and I always remember that scene where the mother says, “Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted in life a jukebox that played nothing but Connie Francis records.” How delightful. The proverbial adult apple didnt’t fall too far from the teenage entertainment tree, and now I indulge in Good Behavior, a show about a woman called Letty Raines and her poor choices. While I can relate to some of the storyline, I mostly watch it for the (mildly fucked up) relationship Letty shares with Javier. As with Weeds, the opening music of which we hear at the end of this show, I’m drawn to good-looking South American male characters.
If you’ve ever been to New York and not seen The Warriors, then what the hell are you doing with your life? The radio scene, with Lynee Thigpen’s face only visible from the nose down, is both weirdly sensual and also a highly appropriate way of showing the power of the radio. Familiar voices without a face, trusted company in dark or lonely times, and often a guide towards the light. Though we didn’t include the blind radio producer from the epic movie Vanishing Point, he alone is reason enough to prep a second soundtrack special in the future.
Of course we also check in with classic composers like John Carpenter, John Williams and Mark Snow (obviously I’m a massive horror, Star Wars, and X-Files fan), and though admittedly we don’t delve too deep into the soundtracks of cult Italian cinema from the ’60s and ’70s, we will be dedicating a whole show to the many great composers of that time (Morricone, Alessandroni, Umiliani, Piccioni, Ortolani, etc) as their scores deserves more attention.
We also pull some tracks from television, namely, the killer new show Stranger Things (a nod to the analog age, as evidently heard in the warm sound of the synths used in the theme music) and the equally addictive The Expanse, taking place in a future time of a colonized solar system and one of the few sci-fi shows that actually takes space physics into consideration (like different gravitational forces, time warping, vacuum pressure, etc). The song we hear is “de new banga, fresh outta Eros! … Hottest beats-maker on Tycho.” On that note, if you’re into string theory and/or the interaction of multiple dimensions, I recommend the movie Interstellar (with music by Hans Zimmer of course). Lastly, we couldn’t exclude Akira and The Ghost in the Shell, two Japanese anime movies that became famous for their stunning, detail-heavy animation and their gripping music scores.
We draw to a close with a couple tracks from The Nile Hilton Incident (an excellent 2017 Egyptian movie, a must-watch for noir fans), Only Lovers Left Alive (now a classic among Jarmusch and vampire lovers alike) and Baby Driver (an unexpectedly great movie with a sort of timeless aesthetic and well-picked soundtrack).
Of course there’s lots more to listen to, from Mulatu Astatke and Philip Glass to Goblin and T. Rex, so click that Play button for two hours of cinematic brilliance. This week and moving forward we return to one-hour shows (quality trumps quantity) and we’ve got a couple guest shows in the works in preparation of a special live show, hopefully coming to Athens in April – so boppers, stay tuned!
With love from outer space,
ALAN FORD – Nemesis (Snatch)
DAVE PORTER – Preacher main title theme
TEO USUELLI – Alla Ricerca Del Piacere Seq. 3
IGOR KANTOR, BERT SHEFTER & PAUL SAWTELL – Mysterioso Minor (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!)
RIZ ORTOLANI – Theme from Fantasma D’amore
ANGELO BADALAMENTI – Dinner Party Pool Music (Mulholland Drive)
GIORGOS HATZINASIOS – Theme from Sweet Bunch
JOHNNY DEPP & RAY COPPER – A Drug Score Part 1 (Acid Spill) (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
CONNIE FRANCIS – Fallin (The Craft)
SEINABO SEY – Hard Time (Good Behavior)
TEO USUELLI – Alla Ricerca Del Piacere Seq. 15
LYNNE THIGPEN – All You Boppers (The Warriors)
BARRY DE VORZON – Theme from The Warriors
ZOMBIE ZOMBIE – Halloween main theme)
MICHAEL STEIN & KYLE DIXON – Stranger Things Theme (live at the ASCAP Screen Music Awards)
MARK SNOW – I Want to Believe (UNKLE remix)
JOHN CARPENTER – Theme from The Fog
CLINTON SHORTER – Eros Song (The Expanse)
TSUTOMU ŌHASHI – Kaneda’s Theme (Akira)
KENJI KAWAI – Chant 1 – Making of Cyborg (The Ghost in the Shell)
PHILIP GLASS – Mishima Closing (Mishima)
GOBLIN – Suspiria (Celesta and Bells)
KENJI KAWAI – Nightstalker (Ghost in the Shell)
RY COODER – Theme from Paris, Texas
T. REX – Cosmic Dancer (Billy Elliot)
ARIEL PINK – Baby (I Do…Until I Don’t)
LOVE – Always See Your Face (High Fidelity)
NICO – These Days (The Royal Tenenbaums)
THE VENUS IN FURS – 2HB (Velvet Goldmine)
LOUD REED – This Magic Moment (Lost Highway)
ANGELS & PETER SKELLERN – One More Kiss Dear (Blade Runner)
ANGELO BADALAMENTI – Rita Walks – Sunset Boulevard – Auth Ruth (Mulholland Drive)
BONNIE BEECHER – Come Wander With Me (The Twilight Zone)
MELINA MERKOURI – Agapi Pou Gines Dikopo Macheri (Stella)
IBTIHAL EL SERETY – Gina’s Song (The Nile Hilton Incident)
YASMINE HAMDAN – Hal (Only Lovers Left Alive)
MULATU ASTATKE – Gubèlyé (Broken Flowers)
DAVID MCCALLUM – The Edge (Baby Driver)
JOHN WILLIAMS – Binary Sunset (Star Wars IV: A New Hope)
MALVINA REYNOLDS – Little Boxes (Weeds)