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Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Coal - Recorded Remembered (Shhpuma, 2023)

By Gregg Miller

We have here a very successful, experimental trio sound out of Greece made up of guitarist Giannis Arapis, Dimos Vryzas on violin and effects, and Simos Riniotis on drums and resonant objects. The Coal aims at a rough melodic beauty which remains nonetheless open to the fraying at the edges beyond which lies that vast pool of undifferentiated sound from which it gathers its material. Atop most of Recorded Remembered is Arapis’s electric guitar running through delay, freeze, reverse, and loopers with occasional gain and whammy. To the miscellaneous percussiveness in all those textures and effected sounds, add in Vryzas’s moody effects, his violin, and Riniotis’s creative kit-playing and found-sound palette, and we get a collective outpouring with depth and a certain worldliness. It’s all there, intentionality and a genuine feeling for play. The eighth track, “For Lisa,” is particularly lovely: a longish, singing guitar line is joined by a mournful violin over the sound of crumpling something and asymmetrical cymbal and tom hits. Sonically less refined is track 9, “The Keys I Don’t Use,” which seems to foreground, were I to hazard a guess, the keys they don’t use. Most of the tracks are more concerned with coping than disruption, though they still feast on the entropy of the sonic rather than give in to the impulse to erase it. There are many highlights. Nothing here feels particularly technical. The feelings are all very natural and honest. On the final track, there is briefly some actual chordal work, but pay that no mind, it arrives having weathered what there is to weather. Highly recommended.

Listen and download from Bandcamp:

My colleague Eyal Hareuveni provides some of the context for Arapis’s playing here.

 You can catch a taste of Arapis’s solo electric guitar magic here: