Greece – Commuters 3-0

The caring readers know that this reviewer is also a rail user, travelling via train Monday to Friday. As such, over the years I’ve developed several strategies allowing my auricular apparatuses not to get in touch with the depressing arguments heard on board (and the cell phones, but that’s probably a lost cause), the easiest of which is bringing along a Discman (sorry, no iPod) and playing something made of thick substance to shut the idiots out while reinforcing the defences of the brain. EAI won’t do, of course; try, say, Radu Malfatti as five or six retards talk soccer with increasing degrees of excitement, then tell me that you “listened” to that CD and are able to review it. (EAI won’t do even in a standard urban condominium but that’s another story, which inevitably ends with animal intellect winning upon human).

Enter Yiorgis Sakellariou, aka Mecha/Orga (a human, not an animal). A laptop-armed noise artist who loves to keep things simple: the computer is typically the only source of pain for unsuspecting, uneducated ears. Titles? What titles? The total duration is the name of the disc, the piece length baptizes the tracks. Two of them were gladly appreciated on these shores recently. 61:50 was issued by Triple Bath and it’s possibly the more “industrial” of the pair, four distinct segments whose duration ranges from 4:44 to 31:43, whereas 50:01 (Echomusic) features three connected parts seamed in a continuum of sorts, as in a single composition.

In a way it is completely useless separating the merits of these records, and I’m not going to. Mecha/Orga’s material is not real racket: there’s a structure in there, and we can easily realize that Sakellariou organizes the development of the music carefully, giving it a life-like evolution that usually starts from something barely rippling silence – an interference, a hypnotic circle of energetic malaise – and gradually pumps up both the volume and the width of the sonic accumulation, building veritable walls of unfriendly emissions that literally exclude anyone and anything else from your world if “enjoyed” by headphones. Those nasty slabs of repudiated drones soon become a true force of nature (albeit of a poisoned kind), rendering the skull a potential beehive from which stinging insects carrying thoughts of annihilation incessantly fly. Still have to fine-tune the insistent imagery according to which some of the persons on the train are imagined bursting in flames while chatting about the previous evening’s TV show, but this could be a digestion-related matter (just kidding…got to give additional chances to shrinks anxious to test their patched skills on psychologically impeded beings). Guess what: these records work properly also at a lower volume. Right now (6:30 AM) I’m attempting to use it as a “distressing ambient”, yet it manages to seize the attention with its hallucinating metallic harmonics (the segment in question is the above mentioned “31:43”). The humming throb accompanying the harshness is taking control of the room, the feedback is slashing away at quietness.

The third of this perfect pair is Marinos Koutsomichalis, who released a CDR – again on Echomusic – called cHro(m)A; don’t know if this is also a nom d’art. The substance is easily illustrated: an unremitting motionless purr, much similar to amplified electricity but with a higher percentage of harmonic substratum and well-perceivable pulsations. The originator himself describes his work as “static music, sustained sounds, immobility and non causality”. He doesn’t edit what is recorded, preferring to create an obscure aura of low frequencies in which the listener gets lost at will. Here, too, a double efficacy is experienced: in the daily trip this stuff isolates and stimulates to the point of having my head reeling, from the speakers the result is one of the most entrancing listens of the last weeks. This sort of thing is often harshly criticized by yours truly – no compositional endeavour in sight – yet this nerve-massaging mumble is extremely efficient.

The war against the railway nonsense is going to be resumed before long, and this one-man army has new lethal answers for the mass-destruction weapons of the provincials who infect the air with their discouraging babbling.

STOP PRESS: right now, the earth – who a couple of nights ago quaked so heavily to cause a catastrophe in the neighbouring region – is again giving signs of rage. Does it mean that a few wicked creatures partying down there are happy to hear this?

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