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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Costis Drygianakis – The Approach (Ήχοι κάτω από το σπίτι, 2019) *****

“Wild nature is charming, since it is simultaneously innocent and threatening, and it is innocent and threatening because it doesn’t abide to moral imperatives”

Drygianakis' The Approach (Η Προσέγγιση in greek) is a work for a big orchestra that is accompanied by texts from Drygianakis himself, Thanasis Chondros, Alexandra Katsiani and Thanos Kois. This recording can be listened or even read. The texts have their own narratives and even thought they are seemingly totally different, the follow a path, a hidden trajectory behind the original stories they tell. Apart from the storytellers, there are 24 four musicians involved in the approach. In the highly idiosyncratic discography of Drygianakis this is probably his most ambitious work and, most certainly for me, his best.

The artwork from Vicky Vlachogianni, a painting called The Silence, incorporates the horrific stories children’s paintings many times imply. There are images from The Silence quite familiar for us in Greece, a country that has been transformed into a dumpster for humans trying to flee from war and disaster. We have to thank our politicians and the good old democratic E.U. for this. Vlachogiannis’ artwork adds playful tension with its lush colors to the release.

As The Approach evolves I realized that the texts are at the forefront and the music is there to help them fully accomplish their role. At a first level the three different texts, presented mixed, seem different and asymmetric. But the more you listen, the more you connect the dots between them. They balance perfectly between a dada performance and a big scale cut-up reading. Quite easily, even in the same phrases you will find humor and despair. Irony and pathos, a big humanitarian feeling like the small passage in the beginning of this review.

All the musicians involved play their role perfectly. Either in big scale or sometimes in sole accompaniment, they operate as the gateway for the texts. While I’m writing these lines I realize that this is a modern day greek opera balancing between atmosphere and texture. The Approach has a lot to say to someone coming from this part of the planet but, in all modesty, also to someone coming from anywhere else. The final result -words and music- form an abstract, 100% personal view of our world here.



Nick Ostrum said...

Thanks for so adeptly drawing attention to such an interesting release, Fotis. And, more broadly, thanks for opening my ears to the contemporary experimental scene in Greece. It has been one of many blind spots in my listening.