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About the Artists
Presspectives

Garnet Skein

Thanos Chrysakis, Wade Matthews, Javier Pedreira

Duration 49.20 | Released December 2013

THANOS CHRYSAKIS: laptop computer, synthesizer, radio, gongs | WADE MATTHEWS: digital synthesis & field recordings | JAVIER PEDREIRA : guitar |

RECORDED IN AUGUST 2013 AT SMILING COW STUDIOS, MADRID BY WADE MATTHEWS. EDITING AND MASTERING BY WADE MATTHEWS, JAVIER PEDREIRA, THANOS CHRYSAKIS.

About the Artists

Thanos Chrysakis’ output consists of composition, performance, and installation. He was born in Athens in 1971. After residing in the UK between 1998–2014 he moved in 2015 to Belarus. With several albums to his name his work has appeared in festivals and events in several countries, including CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau – Dresden, Academy of Arts / M:AI (Museum für Architektur und Ingenieurkunst NRW)– Berlin, Diapason Gallery – New York, ohrenhoch - der Geräuschladen Gallery – Berlin Neukölln, XXII “Sound Ways” International New Music Festival – St Petersburg, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio – Budapest, CRUCE Gallery – Madrid, Fylkingen – Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival – Budapest, ZEPPELIN festival – Barcelona, Futura 2013 Drôme, XIII Festival Internacional de Música Nueva – Monterrey, Oosterkerk – Amsterdam, Störung festival – Barcelona, Center for New Music – San Francisco, Västerås Konstmuseum –Västerås, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series - The Warehouse – London . His music has been also frequently aired by RAI Radio 3, BBC Radio 3, Radio Portugal Antenna 2, Radio Nacional de España, FM Brussel, Polskie Radio (Warsaw), Elektramusic (Strasbourg), Undae! Radio and Onda Sonora - Radio Circulo de Bellas Artes (CBA) (Madrid). He composes for electronic and acoustic instruments as well environmental sounds, focusing on the structural, aesthetic and transfigured capacity of sonic matter. His work was amongst the selected works at the International Competition de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2005, in the category œuvre d'art sonore électroacoustique, while received an honorary mention in 2006 at the 7th International Electroacoustic Competition Musica Viva in Lisbon.

 

Picture of Thanos Chrysakis

Advanced academic studies in composition helped French-born American musician Wade Matthews realize he was not interested in telling other people what or how to play. In 1989, he moved from New York to Madrid and became part of the international improv community. Drawing on his knowledge of electronic music, he approached the bass clarinet and alto flute as “acoustic synthesizers”, rethinking their sonic possibilities, phrasing, and relation to breath in a musical language based on real-time creation. When faster processors made laptop synthesis viable, Matthews returned to his first love, tweaking a virtual synthesizer to allow very rapid control of sound parameters for solo playing and dialog with others. In 2007, he founded INTERMEDIA 28 with photographer Adam Lubroth and guitarist Julio Camarena. There, he began to combine field recordings with electronic synthesis in a 2-computer setup that has since become his main instrument.

Picture of Wade Matthews

A professional musician since 1989, Javier Pedreira has spent the last two decades combining studio work (over 100 recordings) with live performances, accompanying innumerable artists from the worlds of pop and alternative music. This constant activity has never stopped him from carrying out his own projects as well, including Latino Diablo and Extraños en el Paraíso. Moreover, his performing experience has served him well as producer, musical director and session musician for TV series, and as a composer of soundtracks.

As a free improviser, his conception of the guitar's technique and language has revolutionized an instrument that has been a veritable icon of Iberian identity, accompanying the evolution of Spanish music since the time of the vihuela. In this process, he has collaborated with outstanding musicians from the international scene, including William Parker, Abdul Moimême, John Bisset, Seijiro Murayama, Ernesto Rodrigues, Miguel A. García (ERRA FAGUS), Paloma Carrasco (MOONDOS) and Wade Matthews (GENMAICHA).

Picture of Javier Pedreira

Presspectives

Richard Pinnell —The Wire — 362 — April 2014

Maybe the landscape of electroacoustic improvisation has by now become so familiar that the slightest differences seem like significant leaps. On this outing of laptop, synthesizer, feld recording and guitar the usual blend of tonal, textural and found sounds, executed beautifully, is augmented by an overt use of electronic bleeps and whistles that make no attempt to disuise their digital origins. The refreshing honesty of this approach adds something extra to what is already an engaging set of studio works. Dense layers, radio grabs, and flashes of bright colour peeking through murkier depths manifest themselves repeatedly, with the digital ingredients breaking up the mix in an aggreable manner.

Massimo Ricci —Touching Extremes —19.8.2014

If a writer’s trouble in depicting and/or sorting out music is considered an honor by the people who make it, Chrysakis, Matthews and Pedreira can be justified if they’re proud of what they produced with Garnet Skein. The six tracks are in fact chock full of branching paths and perpetually mutating impressions, mainly non-compliant with the general rules of formal harmoniousness. Psychic weariness and irritation await for those reluctant to dedicate quality time to this album, especially if the recipients need age-long silences and rarefied events in between to alleviate their existence.

There are, in truth, few handles to grip at. Unreassuring alarms, gunshots, noxious fumes and strident crescendos characterize parts of the most dramatic subdivisions. Snippets of voices speaking in foreign languages appear as an unsafe attempt to communicate, somewhat thwarted by randomized sequences of disorderly impediments. The placement of noisy/saturated outbursts next to cleaner – if always highly incisive – synthetic materials, spiced with the gravelly jangle of Pedreira’s prepared guitar, generates soundscapes whose essence is powerfully acousmatic. However, in these scarcely hospitable environments the textures frequently retain a “dirty hands” attribute which humanizes the most inedible chunks. The upset caused by unpredictably transformable acoustic matters is enhanced by stomach-gripping flights towards the black holes of a fundamental repercussion (the fourth and fifth movements representing the defining episodes in that regard). The use of shortwave radio connotes imaginary locations which we can only distantly conceptualize.

Circumscribing music at this level of complexness and difficulty of acquisition with low-budget phonetic imitations of its ostensible sonic characters represents a diminution of its worth. Try hard and learn the constitutional basics. Forget about the physical presence of the players. Think instead to what might have pushed them to express their creative urge with such cryptically unsmiling, occasionally convulsive miscellanies. Understanding is not a given, but perseverance is definitely rewarded.

James Wyness — Fouter & Swick — 07.03.2014

This six-track album from Aural Terrains adds to the catalogue of a very successful independent label which offers a fine range of work, from new compositions to free improvisation, by artists such as Thanos Chrysakis and Wade Matthews to name but two. Each piece has its own unique focus and the overall album has the feel of a small chamber ensemble hard at work with a variety of very versatile instruments. Overall the album contains a fine blend of digital and analogue tools. The listener is drawn into the music as a result of uncertainty around whether the music is composed, freely improvised or semi-structured.

Taken as a whole there is a good measure of consistency throughout the album. Its strongest attribute is the clarity of the music – typically each layer is very distinct and the music never dissolves into mush, an ever-present danger in music which adopts this kind of complex gestural layered approach. The clear strands of tracks 1 and 2 for example help the listener to focus on the details of the gestures which in turn point up the freshness of invention.

The variety of sound is never overwhelming and, with one or two exceptions, gives the impression of a very tight trio. Certain techniques are consistent throughout the album, for example figures on a ground, typically to open a piece - distinctive grounds such as the grainy and oscillating movement at the beginning of track 2 or the more indeterminate fundamental layer in track 5 contrasted or complemented by various figures. The hint of arch form in tracks 2 and 4 is very effective adding to the general sense of a strong formal awareness, an episodic approach, which lets the music breathe. Add to this some very tight yet powerful crescendi and diminuendi. Finally there are some admirable passages of restraint which add to the impression of carefully considered musical creation.

Only occasionally do some of the sounds reduce the momentum. For example in track 3 there is a passage of call and response involving pitched material, the sounds of which come over as relatively impoverished by contrast with the preceding and following richness of invention and which seem to be padding out the piece, the longest of the six. However this weaker passage is bookended by two of the best passages in the album - a preceding flowing movement from gong/bells to sines, radio interference and static bursts which transit into electronic noise and feedback amounting to a very successful linear passage of transformation (as opposed to everything piled in together) from instrumental to electronic sound and beyond towards radio voices and possibly field recordings. Then, to finish, some fine crunchy sounds, possibly from a prepared electric guitar, and what sounds like furniture removal in a grain silo.

The weaker passages are very rare and can be set aside because of two specific choices. First the musicians have had the good sense to remain consistent in their choice of idiom, which could be described as gesturally rich, inventive, flowing, smooth, seamless and dynamic with something of the spirit of a well-oiled contemporary jazz ensemble. Only once does the music tip into a more ambient idiom which, if sustained, would have diminished the impact of the album by compromising its consistency. The trio chose however to pick up again on the busy three-piece feel and to emphasise the guitar (never once lame, scratchy or aimless) through to the end. Clever and effective. Secondly, they have avoided exploring musical avenues that can’t be effectively explored at the same time as the gestural processes and track 6 illustrates this by hinting at the potential problem in exploring metallic sounds or more accurately metallic spectra, inharmonicity and overtones – more sound than music. Such in-depth morphological investigations would be far too risky given the trio’s choice of resources. Instead a clever use of form and gestural clarity organises the material to suit its qualities. Some albums hope to achieve textural density and complexity by simply piling it on and it simply ends up being a mess.

Once again Aural Terrains strengthens its reputation as an independent label of original and inventive new music, putting quality above the growing trend of chasing fashionable shadows.

Eyal Hareuveni — All About Jazz — 22.03.2014

This is a trio featuring Chrysakis on laptop and synthesizer, Wade Matthews, a former New York-based reed player now based in Madrid (a close collaborator of Chrysakis and recording engineer of Zafiros en el Barro) on digital synthesis and field recordings, with Javier Pedreira, who also collaborated with Matthews before, on accoustic guitar.

The six improvisations were,again, recorded in Madrid. The sonic merging of electro-acoustic sounds with the revolutionary, extended techniques applied to the guitar create enigmatic, nuanced textures characterized with a rapid, organic flow of new, otherworldly sounds and dense interplay. As on Zafiros en el Barro the longer improvisations(third and the sixth) manage to structure more abstract narratives, less dramatic in progression but still restless and voluminous, even climaxing in threatening, electric storms of tight trio interaction. The fourth and fifth improvisations feature gentle electronic drones, obscured occasionally with noisy, percussive interference, suggesting an eerie, cinematic soundscape.

Héctor Cabrero © Le son du grisli - 25.6.2014

[FR]

Garnet Skein est le nom, emprunté à celui du document qu’il archive, d’un des observatoires qui fleurissent au pays que Chrysakis et Matthews explorent ensemble depuis des années. Et ce pays s’invente en fait sous leurs pas, pas sur lesquels le guitariste Javier Pedreira réglait les siens en 2013.

Le matériel du trio consiste en un ordinateur, une radio, des field recordings, des sons de synthèse, des gongs, en plus de la guitare de l’invité. Le paysage n’est peut-être plus le même qu’hier (ENANTIO_ΔΡΟΜΙΑ, Numen, Parállaxis) mais n’est pas non plus totalement différent. La chose que nous remarquons en premier est un ampli au sol. Il pourrait symboliser la recherche de présence, ou la recherche de concret c’est-à-dire de volume, de tous les bruits qui l’environnenet. Le grondement des gongs, deux notes flutées, des voix ou des larsens filtrants. Dans ce monde-là, l’électroacoustique révèle des ombres luminescentes.

[ENG]

Garnet Skein is the name borrowed for this recording from one of the observatories that flourish in the land Chrysakis and Matthews have been exploring together for years. In fact, they invent that land beneath their feet, and it is a territory on which guitarist Javier Pedreira also treads since 2013.

The trio’s materials consist of a computer, a radio, some field recordings, some synthesized sounds and gongs as well as their guest’s guitar. The landscape may not be the same as it was before (ENANTIO_DROMIA, Numen, Parállaxis) but it is not totally different, either. The first thing we notice is an amplifier on the floor. It may symbolize the quest for presence, or for the concrete—that is, volume—of all the noises around it: scolding gongs, two fluted notes, voices and feedback that filters in. In that world, the electro-acoustics reveal luminescent shadows.

 

Julien Héraud - Improv Sphere - 20.03.2014

[FR]

Ces derniers temps, le label greco-anglais Aural Terrains s'est plutôt dirigé vers les musiques improvisées réductionnistes et électroacoustiques. Mais au mois de décembre dernier, le label signait un retour à la musique électroacoustique "pure" avec Garnet Skein, un disque encore improvisé, mais beaucoup plus axé sur la composition électronique que sur l'interaction ou la recherche sonore minimaliste. Aux côtés de Javier Pedreira à la guitare, deux habitués de ce label : Thanos Chrysakis (qui le dirige) au synthétiseur, radio, gongs et ordinateur, et Wade Matthews à la synthèse digitale & field-recordings.

Le trio propose ici six pièces sans titre où les instruments (gongs, guitare), l'électronique (ordinateur, synthétiseur) et les enregistrements s'entremêlent de manière très juste, équilibrée et savante. Les trois musiciens développent des idées sonores composées de sons très variés qu'ils font assez durer pour qu'elles prennent du sens, sans trop en faire non plus et tomber dans une sorte de drone/ambient chiant. Interventions instrumentales espacées et noyées, enregistrements de terrain très inhabituels, nappes synthétiques discrètes et fréquences granulaires forment des sortes de nuages sonores composés de plusieurs strates égales les unes aux autres. Le trio joue alors sur les durées, les dynamiques, les progressions atmosphériques et les narrations linéaires. On n'est jamais au même endroit, mais jamais non plus sur un territoire complètement différent. Les musiciens utilisent des sons et des techniques qui changent la texture certes, et de manière plutôt créative d'ailleurs, mais jamais l'ambiance ni l'atmosphère, qui sont toujours les mêmes malgré les différences de dynamique, de timbre, d'intensité et de densité.

Chrysakis, Matthews et Pedreira nous offrent ici six improvisations qui ressemblent vraiment à des compositions électroacoustiques. Les six musiciens savent très bien gérer les notions de dynamique et de progression surtout, mais aussi les timbres et les couleurs bien sûr. C'est inventif, équilibré, savamment "orchestré" et frais. Du bon travail qui change un peu - surtout grâce à la présence de Wade Matthews je pense, qui est toujours à même de surprendre.

[ENG]

In recent times, the Anglo-Greek Aural Terrains label has been focused mainly on reductionist and electroacoustic improvisation. But last December, the label marked a return to “pure” electroacoustic music with Garnet Skein, a disk that, while also improvised, is much more oriented towards electronic composition than towards interaction or minimalist sonic research. Alongside Javier Pedreira at the guitar, two habitual figures from this label: Thanos Chrysakis (its director) on the synthesizer, radio, gongs and computer, and Wade Matthews, on digital synthesis and field recordings.

Here, the trio proposes six untitled pieces in which instruments (gongs, guitar), electronics (computer, synthesizer) and recordings intertwine in a very exact, balanced and wise manner. The three musicians develop highly varied sonically composed ideas, making them last enough that they take on meaning without stretching them to the point where they slide into a sort of bothersome drone/ambient. Spaced and embedded instrumental interventions, extremely uncommon field recordings, discrete layers of synthesizer and granular frequencies form sorts of sonic clouds consisting of several strata, each equal to the others. The trio thus plays with durations, dynamics, atmospheric progressions and linear narratives. One is never in the same place, but never in a completely different territory either. The musicians certainly use sounds and techniques that change the texture, and quite creatively at that, but never the setting or the atmosphere, which are always the same despite differences of dynamics, timbre, intensity or density.

Here, Chrysakis, Matthews and Pedreira offer us six improvisations that truly resemble electroacoustic compositions. The three musicians know very well how to handle dynamics and progression, most of all, but also timbres and colors, of course. It is inventive, balanced, wisely “orchestrated” and fresh. Fine work that makes for a change—thanks especially to the presence of Wade Matthews, I think, who is constantly amazing.

[ESP]

En estos últimos tiempos, el sello greco-inglés Aural Terrains se ha dirigido sobre todo a las músicas improvisadas reduccionistas y electroacústicas. Pero en diciembre del año pasado, el sello señaló una vuelta a la música electroacústica “pura” con Garnet Skein, un disco todavía improvisada, pero mucho más vertebrado por la composición electrónica que por la interacción o la investigación sonora minimalista. Al lado de Javier Pedreira a la guitarra, dos habituales del sello: Thanos Chrysakis (su director) al sintetizador, la radio, el gongs y el ordenador, y Wade Matthews, síntesis digital y grabaciones de campo.

El trío propone aquí seis piezas sin título donde los instrumentos (gongs, guitarra), la electrónica (ordenador, sintetizador) y las grabaciones se entremezclan de manera muy apropiada, equilibrada y sabia. Los tres músicos desarrollan ideas sónicas con sonidos muy variados que hacen durar lo suficiente como para que adquieran sentido, pero sin llegar a caer en una especie de drone/ambient molesto. Intervenciones instrumentales espaciadas y compenetradas, grabaciones de campo fuera de lo común, capas sintéticas discretas y frecuencias granulares forma especias de nubes sonoras compuestas de múltiple estratos iguales entre sí. El trío juega, pues, sobre la duraciones, las dinámicas, las progresiones atmosféricas y las narraciones lineales. Nunca se está en el mismo sitio, pero tampoco sobre un territorio completamente distinto. Y si bien los músicos utilizan sonidos y técnicas que cambian la textura, y de una manera más bien creativa por cierto, jamás cambian el ambiente ni la atmósfera, que siempre son los mismos, no obstante las diferencias de dinámica, tímbre, intensidad o densidad.

Chrysakis, Matthews y Pedreira nos ofrecen aquí seis improvisaciones que se parecen realmente a composiciones electroacústicas. Los tres músicos saben muy bien gestionar las nociones de dinámica y progresión, sobre todo, pero también los timbre y los colores, desde luego. Es inventiva, equilibrada, sabiamente “orquestada” y fresca. Buen trabajo que marca una diferencia—sobre todo gracias a la presencia de Wade Matthews, creo yo, que siempre logra sorprendernos.

Jan Faix — His Voice Magazine — 17.03.2014

[CZECH]

Řecký světoběžník Thanos Chrysakis má mezi svými oblíbenými zastávkami také Madrid, a tam mezi jeho pravidelné spolupracovníky patří Američan Wade Matthews. Společně se věnují improvizaci a experimentům s opravdu vší možnou elektronikou, laptopy, syntezátory, procesingem terénních nahrávek apod. Z jejich spolupráce ve dvou i ve větších obsazeních vzešlo již několik skvělých alb, nejnovější Garnet Skein, k jehož nahrávání se připojil také kytarista Javier Pedreira, v tomto ohledu není žádnou výjimkou.

CD obsahuje šest kusů se stopáží přibližně od pěti do dvanácti minut. V každé tvůrci budují jinou cestou proměnlivé vícevrstevnaté zvukové struktury. Často jsou přítomny táhlé ambientní plochy jakoby sakrálního charakteru, nad nimi jsou umisťovány konkrétní až filigránské digitální syntetické zvuky, přítomny jsou také rozličné perkuse, z těch opravdu živých jde hlavně o gongy a kytarové preparace. Ve správných dávkách přicházejí také různé nestabilní šumové vrstvy, někde od sebe jen těžko rozlišíme digitální sinusoidy od kytarových vazeb, objevují se také kratší momenty, kdy celý sound zhoustne a celý se noisově zkrabatí, v neposlední řadě je třeba zmínit občasná mluvená slova v různých jazycích a kvalitách záznamu, v instrumentáři na tomto session nechybělo také rádio. Naopak konvenčních přístupů ke hře na nástroje se tu nedočkáme.

Podobný odstavec, jako je tady ten předešlý, by šel napsat o lecjaké experimentální nahrávce. Ovšem to, jak právě tito hudebníci o celý proces své hudební produkce pečují, aby se dramaticky rozvíjel ke zvukově exkluzivním kombinacím, aby celkově dýchal a nabízel svobodu všem ze zúčastněných, to se spíše musí naposlouchat, než aby to bylo možné popsat slovy. V tom právě tahle deska nabízí výjimečný zážitek, nezvyklé kombinace a souvislosti. Přitom si lze užívat výslednou velmi abstraktní hudbu více než sledování nějakého konceptu, a to se mi zdá naprosto správné.

 

[ENG]

Greek nomad Thanos Chrysakis likes to stop at Madrid during his journeys, one of his stable collaborators there is Wade Matthews from America. Together they improvise and experiment using almost every kind of electronic device: laptops, synthesizers, processed field recordings etc. Their collaboration in both duo and larger ensembles has lead to many great releases and the most recent one, Garnet Skein, featuring guitarist Javier Pedreira, is no exception.

The CD contains six pieces ranging from five to twelve minutes in length. In every one of them the creators construct multi-layered ever-changing sound structures, often with ambient planes of sacral-like feeling. On top, concrete and digital synthetic sounds are placed almost like filigree, along with various kinds of percussion such as gongs or prepared guitar sounds. There is also just the right amount of different kinds of unstable noise layers and sine waves, sometimes hardly separable from guitar feedback. At certain brief moments, the whole sound gets denser and even noisier,  and we should also mention a few spoken word appearances in various languages and recording qualities. This improvisation also includes radio, but no traditional instrumental technique.

One could write a paragraph like the previous one about almost any experimental recording. But this particular one is unique in how the artists nurture the whole process of music production so that it can dramatically grow and develop unique sonic combinations, breathing and offering freedom to everyone. There is no way to describe it with words, one has to really listen to it. Only the listener can enjoy the great experience of unusual combinations and context, and also enjoy the very abstract music that resulted from this process as more than just a conceptual thought and that seems absolutely right to me.

(trans.: Mikulas Mrva)

Matt Schulz — The Squid's Ear — 7-02-2015

Haunting electroacoustic landscapes by three men on the fringes of sonic buggery. I last heard from Matthews on the Punto Cero record where he helped manipulate field recordings of the Aragón region of Spain, and his work here continues on a similar trajectory. Sonic artifacts fizz, and chime turn inside out on themselves over fluttering sound events and rumbling proto-bass. This release is at times reminiscent of l970's electronic film soundtracks like The Andromeda Strain and THX 1138 but also evokes aural memories of a coalescing ecosystem, created by the plodding feet of giant animals, earthquakes, and bubbling, molten lava.

"I" opens with a distant ambulance sound that is later joined by full on air raid sirens, punctuated by bits of dissonant aural chaos. These elements create a true sense of dread, as if some intangible emergency is unfolding just out of earshot. "II" is a truly exciting piece, deploying warbling bass tones, arpeggiating, garbled voices and whirring, skittering clicks that morph into somersaulting upper frequency hijinx. "III" sounds like a failing internet connection circa 1998 with a stringed instrument trying desperately to escape sonic quicksand. Eventually feedback and subharmonic splatter overtake the instrument as disembodied voices whisper its eulogy. "IV" has a more solemn tone evoking singing bowls or gongs, with rude temple visitors knocking about during the ceremony. Watery textures bubble just below the surface with mangled ultra distortion and the occasional hard stick on metal making way for an onslaught of UFO electronics and early Sonic Youth guitar squelch. This track more so than the others illustrates the dualities of 50's and 80's future soundscapes mixed with meditative drone and is one of the more complex pieces on this disc. "VI" sounds like a giant room full of ancient super computers, each one's data tape machine slowly dying among a chorus of obscure ring-modulated office machines. Brilliant.

 

 

Jens Holmberg — Sound of Music — June 2013

[SWE]

Bolaget Aural Terrains fortsätter att släppa intressant elektroakustisk musik. Denna gång med Garnet Skein som är en trio bestående av musikerna Thanos Chrysakis på laptop och gong, Wade Matthews som bidrar med digitalt brus och fältinspelningar och gitarristen Javier Pedreira. Albumet består av sex improvisationer som är mestadels är fysiska och brutala till sin karaktär. De inledande styckena slår hårt med flimrande ljudsjok och toner som skaver. Pedrerias gitarr gör sitt för att lätta upp strukturerna och det fungerar väl, även i de mest voluminösa partierna . Det skapar en känsla av något mänskligt i musiken bortom de komplexa lager-på-lager-effekterna och brusande strömmarna. Det förändrar anslaget i trions abstrakta stycken. Referenstoner och radioinspelningar gör annars sitt för att skapa intressanta infallsvinklar och det finns en progressiv kraft i trions kompositioner som stundtals känns sakral, nästan lite högtidlig. Jag tycker det märks tydligt att Chrysakis är involverad och styckena delar samma struktur och ljudbid som han skapade på Zafiros en el barro, men med skillnaden att de akustiska elementen är betydligt färre nu. Här finns också längre dronekompositoner som är ett perfekt andrum efter att ha åkt runt i Garnet Skeins ljudmangel. De tre musikerna vet hur man skapar dramatik och de elektroakustiska improvisationer är väloljade och balanserade. Det fortsätter att se ljust ut för bolaget Aural Terrains med Thanos Chrysakis i spetsen.

Todd McComb — Jazz Thoughts — 24.03.14

Thanos Chrysakis (b.1971) and the Aural Terrains label are releasing albums at a fast pace, with Garnet Skein following closely on Zafiros en el barro (both dated 2013). (One strange thing about the label is that the last three releases have all had different packaging: Cardboard sleeve for Growing carrots in a concrete floor, jewel case for Zafiros en el barro, and digipack for Garnet Skein.) Chrysakis must enjoy the imagery of gem stones, given two releases in a row with gem titles, although perhaps it's a specific series of projects. The gems do seem to reflect the nature of the music as structurally concentrated miniature (akin to a Bach invention, perhaps). Whereas the quartet on Zafiros en el barro featured acoustic instruments, the trio on Garnet Skein is almost entirely electronic if one counts Javier Pedreira's guitar as such. (The preparation of the guitar often produces an electronic or percussive sound, evocative of Abdul Moimême — with whom Pedreira has worked — and others.) Instead of Slaven & Wigens on strings & winds is Wade Matthews on his double laptop setup, joining Chrysakis on laptop & radio (as well as some prominent gongs at times, the most acoustic sounds on an album that begins with emergency sirens). Although the sound world is somewhat different, Garnet Skein shows the same sort of drive to simplicity & rigor as Zafiros en el barro, placing unusual sonic materials into some fairly classical structural relations: The almost inhuman quality of some of the sound materials is contextualized in a classic human sense of form. (And the specifically human radio sounds take on an otherworldly character, reconfiguring familiarity there too.) Perhaps most impressively, one can also hear the sonic explorations from Zafiros en el barro reflected in the activity of Garnet Skein. Although there are some obvious similarities in the way the musical materials are made to cohere, Chrysakis' style appears to be developing rather quickly at the moment.

Smug Magazine — 22.04.2014

[AT]

Der gebürtige Grieche Thanos Chrysakis ist ein recht umtriebiger Komponist und Elektroakustiker (Laptop, Synthesizer, Radio, Gongs) mit Hang zu schroffen Sounds und doch eher kopflastigen (und kompromisslosen) Kompositionen. Mit dem gebürtigen Franzosen Wade Matthews, ebenfalls ein Elektroakustiker (Digital Synthesis & Field Recordings) hat er schon einmal kollaboriert und dabei seine vielleicht zugänglichste CD (»Numen«) geschaffen. Für die neueste Zusammenarbeit haben die beiden Herren den gebürtigen Spanier Javier Pedreira (Gitarre) mit an Bord geholt. Verglichen mit der Duo-Arbeit auf »Numen« fügt sich Pedreira fast nahtlos in diese Kollaboration ein, macht das artifizielle Miteinander aber doch um eine spürbare Nuance fetter und griffiger. Trotzdem bleibt »Garnet Skein« eine sperrige Angelegenheit für Gelegenheitshörer. Dass die drei Herren ein sehr engmaschiges Klangnetz aufspannen und sich dabei nicht mit einem billigen Effektgewitter abgeben, sondern stets um hörenswerte Verdichtungen bemüht sind, tröstet vermutlich eher die Hörexpertin als den Hörlaien. Aber Chrysakis liebt nun mal die klirrende Kälte digitaler Soundwelten. Auf Track 3 etwa (es gibt keine Titelnamen) vermengen sich vereinzelte statische Referenztöne mit knisternden Fragmenten aus dem Radioäther, dazwischen wirft der Synthesizer massive Soundblöcke in dieses frostige Klangmeer, fast wie zersplitternde Eisschollen. Das hat eine bizarre, widerborstige Schönheit, keine Frage, ist aber eben nichts für akustische Warmduscher.