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About the Artist
Presspectives

A SCAR IN THE AIR

Thanos Chrysakis

Duration 31.49 | Released December 2008

A continuation of the “inscapes” series; a set of compositions based on the structural and aesthetic capacity of sonic matter; a confluence and at times collision of composed and decomposed sound-spectra, based on field-recordings, synthesized and acoustic sounds.

About the Artist

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

Presspectives

Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic -May 2009

This latest offering from London-based sound artist Thanos Chrysakis continues the series of compositions entitled "Inscapes" (any resemblance to Aaron Copland's 1967 orchestral composition Inscape or to the recent Eric La Casa and Jean-Luc Guionnet album (see above) is, of course, purely coincidental), of which four more are available buckshee gratis and for now here http://www.con-v.org/cnv16.html. A Scar In The Air features Inscapes 24 – 29 (but the six pieces, the composer notes, "had to flow effortlessly in to one another forming and dissolving into a continuous aural motion") and it's absolutely intriguing. Some of the sound sources used are relatively easy to identify – percussion has always been important for Chrysakis, especially vibraphones, marimbas and cymbals – others not. "My intention," the composer's lengthy email continues, "was to compose a deep soundworld, deep in the sense that something is coherent – has its internal logic – while at the same time remaining enigmatic." If such talk of "deep" and mention of vibraphones and marimbas leads you to expect something spaced-out, trippy and ambient, think again; the music is carefully constructed to draw you in, not float along in the background like wisps of smoke from a joss stick while you sip green tea and rearrange Taschen Art Books on your coffee table. It's often soft (not always: the final track gets pretty tetchy) and dreamlike – but not dreamy: remember dreams can be dark, sweaty, dangerous places too. Chrysakis acknowledges the cinema as an influence on his work (you may remember a quotation from Lars von Trier's Europa popped up on Klage), and is fond of describing his compositional procedure in terms of long takes and montage, but, like Michel Chion, is quick to distance himself from that "cinema for the ear" idea. Though elegant and unashamedly beautiful, this music is also tough and abstract. He couldn't have come up with a better album title.–DW

Massimo Ricci, Brain Dead Eternity -May 2009

A Scar In The Air is a part of the “Inscapes Series”, namely music “based on the structural and aesthetic capacity of sonic matter”. Six tracks, all connected in a continuous flow, for a total of half a hour which shows the most ear-satisfying traits of this Greek composer’s artistic vision, occupying a well definite place between the (often exaggerate) seriousness of cultivated acousmatics and the kind of vibrations that should be associated with the concept of “space”: not in a celestial acceptation, more as anything associable to the notion of “propagation of sound in an environment”. Under this meaning, Chrysakis offers numerous moments of profound integrity and gratification, leaving the sounds activate our psyche in a state of self-determination despite the evident care behind the compositional effort.

The sources are not indicated, but there are several of them that are clearly intelligible and, although regularly exploited in this ambit, used in such a discreetly clever manner that those colours look just perfect for the segment in which they’re appearing. Coming to terms with the perception of interiority is a perennial struggle which sees human ignorance constantly defeated – here’s the reason of the flourishing of “extreme anxiety groups” sticking definitions to something that exists only in their mind's eye. Yet it’s doubtless that music like this - offering different departure points for the observation of phenomena whose resonance, both outside and inside, is impressively effective – might constitute a good start for inquisitive thinking.

One can decide: appreciating the pure magnificence of an obscure reverberation, recognizing the typicality of chatting people, being displaced in amorphousness when a voice is fused with a marimba which reproduces its same elocution patterns, or just accepting the whole as a mixed-energy macrocosm. What remains is the impression of an unexplainable deeper implication that’s better left undefined, unless you want to join the extended queue of those who sing “progress” to themselves while standing at the centre of a depressing miniature universe, their imaginary advancement a mere shadow elongated by the sun of someone else’s ideas (which in turn had been pick-pocketed elsewhere).

GONZO #91

Een Griekse klankentovenaar maakt veldopnames die vervolgens worden samengeperst of uitgerokken, en uiteindelijk computerkundig als microgeluidjes weer aan elkaar gezet worden. Zelf spreekt de maker van Inscapes om zijn kunst te benoemen. Het verkregen klankenpallet is zeer divers en bestrijkt alle uithoeken van het spectrum: van diepe pulsaties tot ijl gezoem, verwaterde stemmen en concrete geluiden. Soms lijkt het zelfs alsof er een muziekdoos verborgen zit in een composthoop. Eigen aan dit genre zijn ook die typische elektronische ritselgeluidjes die we kennen van de electro-akoestische componisten van het eerste uur, of recentere exponenten als Lionel Marchetti. In elk geval staat de cd ‘A Scar In The Air’ borg voor een dik halfuur puur luisterplezier, dat liefhebbers van donkere sferen evengoed zal plezieren als wetenschappelijk geschoolde klankentappers.(pv)

Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural 32

Suoni eterei, sintetici e ben parcellizzati, field-recording, droni ed eleganti trattamenti acustici, agiti dal compositore ateniese Thanos Chrysakis, organizzando meticolosamente strutture ed atmosfere del progetto 'A Scar In The Air', continuazione della serie 'inscapes' (già selezionata alla International Competition de Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques a Bourges nel 2005). Materiale auditivo altamente sensibile, che viene articolato in partiture dilatate ma anche reattive, nel connubio di frequenze industriali ed acusmatiche, incastrando ibridi agglomerati ambientali e citazioni concretiste. Sei le differenti tracce, per un totale d'appena 31 minuti, elettronica densa d'attitudini anche improvvisative, nelle forme di differenti modulazioni, dipanate a partire da specifiche 'idee' stilistiche. Sperimentazioni che nella radicalità dell'approccio mantengono forte - tuttavia - la capacità di veicolare suggestive ed immaginifiche narrazioni, rafforzate da una certa gradevolezza d'ascolto.

Nicola Catalano, BLOW UP 131

Diverso il trattamento che Thanos Chrysakis riserva ai materiali reperiti sul campo. In questo caso struttura e qualità del materiale puro sono fortemente trasformate, sottoposte cioè a un più deciso trattamento di carattere elettroacustico, con evidenti riferimenti a modi e tecniche della scuola acusmatica. Con grande concisione l'autore greco di stanza a Londra delinea una serie di eleganti campiture sonore definite inscapes (che traduciamo grosso modo come paesaggi interiori), cui bene si attaglia l'affascinate idea - suggerita nel titolo - dello stesso narrato fonico quale cicatrice nell'aria. (7/8)

Max Schaefer, The Squid's Ear

Sound artist Thanos Chrysakis builds a sonic nexus not in view of sending keening tones shooting through the stratosphere, subtly shrugging off their immediate influences and acquiring an intangible, diffuse, atomised quality. A Scar in the Air, as a continuation of his inscape series, which strives to bring out and accentuate the timbral affinities of the source sounds in question, instead shows no small interest in a system of myriad relations and the sympathy and antipathy that hold between them. Consider it, then, a myriad-faceted polyhedron: as it gyrates before your ears, different aspects flash into focus. The main appeal, however, lies in how Chrysakis turns this process into one of emanation. Rarely can something so painstakingly assembled sound so fluid. A distinct, disciplined sense for composition emerges from each of these works. And yet, at the same time, its fruit is a music that stands as a dynamically linked succession of events, which expand and contract, systole and diastole, with slow, ectoplasmic motions. As a system, though, it doesn't push toward equilibrium, but toward its own outer parameters. A certain rockpool mysteriousness is thus maintained, the sonic microcosms gauging a hole in the fabric and confirming that strangeness and enchantment are still part of the picture. Inasmuch as the pieces display formal integrity, they are also effervescent, forceful, fiercely idiosyncratic and beautifully damaged, gobbling up every accidental influence that falls into their path. "Inscape 27" sees crystalline edges undergo a gradual yet significant metamorphosis into mouldy, indistinct forms, while, similarly, the full-spectrum harmonics and irregular pulses of "Inscape 24" evoke the rush of the bloodstream and the firing of synapses via a diverse palette. At its mid-point, though, it is cut right open, the delicate pulses and pings scattering like flocks of birds. The album demonstrates real passion for sonic viscera, making this bit of sonic scarring a strangely pleasurable, not to mention engaging, experience.