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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Sam Weinberg – The Greek Cassette (maarakora, 2019) ****½

By Fotis Nikolakopoulos 

The distance between Bloor’s (a trio that Sam Weinberg is a member of and one of my favs for 2019) Drolleries CD and this cassette is huge but very telling. It tells the story of an artist who is in a path of discovering his own unique voice and doesn’t care about labeling his work. Or,even, following one safe road.

This cassette, having the same title in greek, came out late 2019 from the small greek label of maakora. It is basically two 15 minute tracks spread on each side of the cassette consisting of various field recordings manipulated in many, musical and non-musical, ways by Weinberg himself. There isn’t even a moment inside those 30 minutes that would make you wonder. This is a deeply personal release, one that ignores any boundary given by what we call a linear approach to music making (and career building).

Various surroundings are being recorded, transformed and manipulated. Every day street life, background noises (everything is noise, we mustn’t forget that), birds humming, some wind instrument here and there, a guitar strumming, people (but how many?) digging up something. Numerous commentators appear out of the blue like a fluxus performance and then disappear again for ever. There’s a high chance we listed to Sam’s voice at some points but I wouldn’t be so sure of that.

The Greek Cassette might seem like a spin off for Sam Weinberg. A playful recording between his “real” ones that border between free jazz and improvisation. I cannot agree. This is him, I dare say, trying to figure out and present, again in an almost non-verbal way, everyday life, it’s struggles, atrocities and sweet moments.