The Captivating Power of Ancient Greek Music: Daemonia Nymphe

 

I stumbled upon Greek music band Daemonia Nymphe while searching for Dead Can Dance news. You can say that they are sister sounds and their cousin The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices are also making global waves with their new recording. So I got curious and listened to their two songs. It is great to have a reference point beforehand because it is easy to digest the music and appreciate the depth of their craftsmanship.

Daemonia Nymphe are comprise of Spyros Giasafakis and Evi Stergiou established around 1994. As you recall this was the start of many interesting music and various genres that were deemed ‘underground’ were at the time, regaining recognition. What drew me to the band is my fascination with ancient Greek music, which I also explored in the 90s. Stumbling upon them has a sort of nostalgic appeal.

Further research into their style tell me that their lyrics are drawn from Orphic and Homeric hymns and Sappho’s poems for Zeus and Hekate. In the music market they are categorized under neoclassical or neofolk for lack of better label. We have to remember that labels are important in the business or marketing sense-but never in the creative realm. The vocals are provided by Dessislava Stefanova leader of the London Bulgarian Choir (she sung in Hollywood films such as Troy, 10,000 BC and The Brothers Grimm).

 

Album Review: Empirico by Whodoes

Plus: J.P. Kallio, 10 Awful Things About British Festivals That Should Take A Hike and Pierre Masse

Seasons have a way of influencing how we listen to music. The gloomy months bring out that introspective spirit in all of us. I’ve always have this special interest in contemporary instrumental music. It is another genre which I did not ‘force’ myself to appreciate. It came naturally. With music it is both an emotional and mental experience for me. Emotional in a sense that there are tunes that can ‘transport’ me to another place. There are lyrics that make me bawl like a baby. And I am sure this is something I share with musicians. After all, who else knows the secret places inside a tune than the creator of it- the artist?

When Vasilis Chountas a.k.a. Whodoes told me that a new album is out, I got excited because I remember the beautiful experience I had with Dolphins in the Sky. Empirico has nine tracks with varying moods. Everything about it sounds sci fi and a progression of his minimalistic style which he cultivates with Dolphins in the Sky. Would you believe that his main instrument is just the electric guitar? Everything around it was build by the sounds created by that single instrument. Empirico is for fans of soundtrack, ambient, ethnic, experimental and post-rock music. There is also an unmistakable Greek element in the a0642189950_2melodies as Chountas is from Greece.

Emprico opens with pulsing sounds as if these are transmission from outer space. There is a sense of urgency underneath the calm rhythmic style. T harkens back to the early days of ambient music created by Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream.

One of my favorite tunes is Memories which is also the carrier single. It has that chill out beats and cinematic feel that could be one of those tunes you hear in a suspense/mystery TV series during the opening credits. I love its gradual style and abstract melodic style. Rain is falling hard outside while I am writing this review and I feel like I am swimming in the seas of pleasant music. All those pulsing, underwater life pulsing around me in the form of notes and beats.

There are other great tracks from this wonderful album including Street Romance, Room Alone and the drum-heavy That Night which reminds me of Portishead. Similar track Lost follows with industrial beats and melodies yearning for a resolution.

If you like Vangelis and other artists I mentioned in this review then you will pick up Empirico.

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Today’s Featured Artist Blog: J.P. Kallio:

I love reading what artists have to say. That is why I often visit their blogs. If I don’t get to read anything from their website then I go ahead and ask them for an interview. My passion for knowing how an artistic mind works can be traced back to my childhood when I destroyed automatic watches trying to know how the cogs and wheels inside work. Don’t worry I won’t do the same thing to your heads physically 😉

http://jpkalliomusic.blogspot.co.uk/

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Meanwhile in other music-related news:

10 Awful Things About British Festivals That Should Take A Hike:

I got this link from NME.Do you agree? What do you think?

http://www.nme.com/blogs/festivals-blog/10-awful-things-about-british-festivals-that-should-take-a-hike

And lastly, a blast from the past:

14 Questions with Pierre Masse

Here is a memorable interview with the young and talented Pierre Masse Posted on September 9, 2010.

https://spheremusic.me/2010/09/09/14-questions-with-pierre-masse/

Have a great weekend friends!

Whodoes – Memories – [ OFFICIAL VIDEO ] – ( New Album – Empirico )

Greek musician Vasilis Chountas is exploring the grander, rhythmic realm with the new album Emperico. As the title suggests, the single signals his departure from the minimalist Dolphins in the Sky. The official single is called Memories (see the video attached to this post). The melancholic tune is embellished by chilled beats and electronic orchestra. This is more ‘pop’ than anything he has composed.

The video is  includes the following credits:

Whodoes Musica is the studio.

Whodoes Musica is the studio.

Editing : Aris Trianatafillou

Graphic Animations : Konstantinos Kefalianos

Special Effects : Taken by INK examples

Extra Help : Giorgos Belsis

I think the ink animation is beautifully executed as it expresses the abstract emotions exemplified by Memories. And in a way this could be a soundtrack about your past and how you try to resolve the demons that plague your mind, or the sense of loss that occupies all of us as we go through life. I guess this feeling is what drives people to hold on to something. In the rush of currents to our river of life. we look for that drifting object to save us. Sometimes, the result is negative but nothing is always certain in life isn’t it?

I don’t have additional details about the new album Empirico but I will surely keep you updated.

About Vasilis Chountas ( aka Whodoes):

Whodoes is musician-composer, with professional experience in music compositions for theatre performances, documentaries and narrative acts. Whodoes has performed numerous solo live acts creating musical adaptations of speech and images and has participated in many concerts and festivals. The term Ambient-Experimental-Looped Guitar is used in order to describe the use of various techniques and gadgets converting the electric guitar into other instruments such as bowed guitar(conversion in to violin ,viola,cello sounds)e-bow,slide guitar,woodsticks(conversion in to traditional santouri sound) all this become from one man solo performance using ambience and beat samples and looping guitar phrases on real time. This is the first album of the artist “Whodoes”-Dolphins In The Sky release by yunrecordz.It contains eleven instrumental pieces of music a mixture of ambient, chill out, ethnic, post rock, electro and sound track music.

Vasilis Chountas (a.k.a Whodoes) – Composer/Musician(Interview)

A different way of playing (ambient) guitars by Vasilis Chountas a.k.a Whodoes.

Sphere Music has a new featured artist. Let us welcome Vasilis Chountas known as Whodoes. He runs Whodoes musica which transcends genre and guitar styles. He has created a wall of sound by just the use of guitar. For someone who grow up with an ample dose of mainstream music, the guitar sound has been associated with loudness and intensity. All that has changed since I listened to Dolphins in the Sky, the debut album of Vasilis Chountas.

If you haven’t read my review please visit this link.

This interview was made possible through days of interaction in varying times. In between that I was listening to tracks off his albums to inspire me with the questions.

The earliest stage experience he had were several gigs in Italy around 2002-2003. He speaks three languages: Italian, English and Greek. He also contributed his talent to the band The Lost cargo as a guitarist. The band’s lead man Kostantinos Yiotas produced  the phenomenal Dolphins in the Sky.

A detailed bio can be found at the end of this interview.

Welcome Vasilis. You are Sphere Music’s Featured artist! For a start I want to know the earliest music performance you’ve been to. The thing that sort of started you to this musical path.

My first venture into concerts started in my teens. At that time I used to play covers of my favorite bands. Later in life, my first professional step came with the Greek-ethnic singer Yiota Vei. 

You do amazing stuff with the guitar that has never been approached by any guitar artist before. What made you to decide creating this style of music?

When I left my musical training to express my style freely, I realized exactly what I want as a musician and guitarist. This was my need to expand the sound of the guitar in the ichosynthesis using multi-effects pedals, and convert it into other musical instruments as possible, in a more natural way. For these reasons ,I also used other materials like violin bow, wood stick , slide ,e-bow etc and looper pedals for real time composition .As a composer over the years, i developed a personal sense of music ,combining different styles like post rock, ethnic, electro, soundtrack and chill out .

 Dolphins in the Sky is the title of your new album which is out. It contains 11 interesting tracks divided into two parts. The first half deals with floating ‘space’ music while the second half is percussive in nature and very experimental. What made you decide to use Dolphins as part of the title? 

With this separation(in mood), I want to symbolize the difference between urban and natural environment. The first part is inspired of water element, the sea and the blue sky. The second part describes the desire and the search of the countryside, the journey of mental through the daily routine of man in the city. Also is inspired of moments before and after work with ‘’ I’m late’’ and ‘’Dismist’’ tracks. I believe dolphins have a very symbolic meaning because they are among the mammals, they interact with humans and they are also symbol of ecology. All this sensitivity functions of life focus on man, as an integral part of this world.  

Your career includes live performances and recordings, compositions for live orchestra and compilation recordings. What’s the next step for you? 

The next step for me, is to complete the distribution of my cd. In the meantime, I’m working on composing and recording my next album.

What’s the state of Greek popular music these days and what are the exciting things that are happening in your country musically? 

Actually Greek and foreign pop music influence the majority of Greeks. Nevertheless, there is also a small amount of new artists and bands, who gain ground.

You studied law in Italy before devoting your energy to music. How do your reconcile the two? 

The only common element of these two, is the mathematical way of thinking. Τhe difference is, that the mathematical result of the music is less rational than law.

Name the top 5 albums you listen to these day?

Dictaphone : vertigo 2 ,Cinematic orchestra : motion #1 , Mogwai: Rock action , Hidden orchestra: Night wallks

Why did you name your project Whodoes? Instead of just your own name? 

The project name comes from my surname, which is Chountas. My need was to find a way to facilitate the pronunciation for those who don’t speak Greek, and also express my inner aspects.

Tell me the process of composing tunes. How does a tune start and how do you record them? 

First I live, listen, feel and then I compose. My life experiences whisper melodies in my ears. A separation, anger, an afternoon walk even a discussion could be the subjects that inspire me .” Why?” track for example, was an inspiration that came out after the news for our entry in the I.M.F .The feeling of sadness for the future of Greece and the political-social situation worldwide ,was the key for my inspiration. Melodies that didn’t exist at that ,time flooded my soul and so within a week I had completed the production and creation of ’’ Why?’’, who also became a videoclip afterwards.

 What can listeners expect from Whodoes in years to come in terms of sound evolution? 

The artist has a specific aim in his life. And this is what nature intends him to do. The experiment of my artistic temperament with other kinds of music or art, is what the audience expects from me.

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Vasilis Chountas (a.k.a Whodoes) – Composer

Whodoes is a self-taught musician, with professional experience in music compositions for theatre performances, documentaries and narrative acts. Whodoes has performed numerous solo live acts creating musical adaptations of speech and images and has participated in many concerts and festivals.

The term Ambient-Experimental-Looped Guitar is used in order to describe the use of various techniques and gadgets converting the electric guitar into other instruments such as bowed guitar(conversion in to violin,viola,cello sounds)e-bow,slide guitar,woodsticks(conversion in to traditional santouri sound).All this comes from ‘’one man solo performance’’ using abience,beat samples and looping guitar phraces on real time.

This is the first album of the artist “Whodoes”-Dolphins In The Sky. It contains eleven instrumental pieces of music a mixture of ambient, chill out, ethnic, post rock, electro and soundtrack music.

More material are available:

www.youtube.com/vasilischountas

http://soundcloud.com/whodoes

www.myspace.com/vasilischountas  

 

 

DETAILED BIO:

EDUCATION

Diploma in Music Technology                                                                                                2011   :   Vocational Training Institute of Athens, Greece

http:www.oeek.gr

RECORDINGS

2011  :   Personal music project, New Album_Dolphins in the sky

Composition, recording, mixing and mastering

Project:Whodoes-Dolphins In The Sky

2010   :  Music Project _Lost Cargo

http://www.myspace.com/thelostcargo

Lead guitarist

2010  :   Urban Shadow album Hope (Archangel music) track 6“Rif Sa Da

Ni”

PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE

Theatre Performances and Narrative Acts:

2011:     Composer and Musician (live solo performances, music editing,covers, sound design)

“Heroes and Myths: Quotations from the works of Tenesse

Williams”

A performance produced by actors with disabilities by the theatre group “THEAMA”

Athens Festival – Technopolis Gazi
Contemporary Theatre Festival

2010:               Composer and Musician (live solo performances, music editing, sound design)

“The Mediterranean Myth of Lamia”

A performance produced by actors with disabilities by the     theatre group “THEAMA”

Acharnes Festival

2009:             Composer and Musician (Live solo performances, sound     design and musical adaptation of speech)

“The Crete of Nikos Kazantzakis”

Screenplay by Rena Venieri (actor) and direction by Manolis Mavromatis (journalist)

A co- production of the Greek broadcasting company

Technopolis Gazi

2008 – 2010:  Composer and Musician (live orchestra performances, solo musical adaptation of speech)

“Women through time: symbolizing women from Ancient Greece to the present”

Performers: Yiota Vei (singer) and Rena Venieri (actor)

A production of the European Theatre Group of Literature

and Arts

Athens Festival
Acharnes Festival
Festival of Marathonas

2008:               Composer and Musician (live solo performances, sound design, musical adaptation of speech)

“Vine harvest representation in ancient Greece – acts of wine”, Cretan Theatre Group

2008:               Composer and Musician (live solo performances, sound design, musical adaptation of speech)

“The Lament of Greece” with the participation of Yiota Vei     http://www.yiotavei.gr

Ancient theatre of Acharnes, Mycenaean tomb archaeological site

CONCERT SOLO PERFORMANCE

2011:   Urban Shadow “Hope” presentation, Guest performer

2010:   Support Zion Train at An live club (May 21st), Athens

2009:   Music Gravity “Experimental music and improvisations”

2009:   Mama Africa Arts Festival 3, Athens

OTHER PERFORMANCES

Performed solo and composed the music for the following events

2010:               Book Presentations

2009:               “Yiorgis Varlamos Engravings Exhibition”

2009:               Embassy of Iceland – own album (Whodoes: Dolphins In The Sky) presentation

2002 – 2003: Several gigs in Italy