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About the Artists
Presspectives

Asphodels Abide

Thanos Chrysakis, Chris Cundy, James O' Sullivan

Duration 43.50 | Released November 2014

Thanos Chrysakis : laptop computer, synthesizer, radio | Chris Cundy : bass clarinet |

James O’Sullivan : guitar |

Recorded in November 2013 at OneCat Studio, London

by Jonathan Clayton

Editing and Mastering by

Thanos Chrysakis at Alpha Studio Visby/Gotland

and Meridian Studio between April-June 2014.

 

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 many countries, including CYNETart Festival, Festspielhaus Hellerau – Dresden, Diapason Gallery – New York, XXII “Sound Ways” International New Music Festival – St Petersburg, Spektrum – Berlin, Artus Contemporary Arts Studio – Budapest, CRUCE Gallery – Madrid, Fylkingen – Stockholm, Relative (Cross) Hearings festival – Budapest, ZEPPELIN festival – Barcelona, Festival Futura 2013 – Crest-Drôme, XIII Festival Internacional de Música Nueva – Monterrey, Areté Gallery – Brooklyn-New York, Nádor Terem – Budapest, Konserthuset, Grünewaldsalen – Stockholm, Utzon Centre – Aalborg, Oosterkerk – Amsterdam, Störung festival – Barcelona, Fabricca del Vapore – Milan, Center for New Music – San Francisco, Västerås Konstmuseum –Västerås, BMIC Cutting Edge concert series - The Warehouse – London.

His music has been frequently aired by BBC Radio 3, RAI Radio 3, RTP Antena 2, RTV España Radio 3, RTÉ Lyric FM, Polskie Radio, RTS — Radio Belgrade 3, and Sveriges Radio P2 among other radio-stations.

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

“swirling around the songs was bass clarinet player Chris Cundy, like a birdsong interrupting an argument” -  Los Angeles Times                                                                                                                         

Playing bass clarinet and rarified woodwind instruments Chris Cundy is a composer and performer with a practice rooted in experimental and improvised settings. His work also crosses over into popular music and he has worked with a variety of songwriters and groups including Timber Timbre, Cold Specks (aka Ladan Hussein), Thor & Friends, Baby Dee & Little Annie, and Guillemots.

Growing up in the Medway towns Chris became friends with artist and punk musician Billy Childish who introduced him to the exploits of homemade music-making at an early age. This led to a lasting DIY attitude and by the time he was 12 Chris had already started out as a street performer and busker. After hearing Eric Dolphy's music he took up the bass clarinet. He remains self-taught.

Also a visual artist, Chris studied painting at Cheltenham where he discovered a synergy between drawing practices and improvised music. This led to self-developed playing techniques using multi-phonics, circular breathing, exploring micro tonality and generally speaking a more tactile approach to the instrument. Chris also performs contemporary classical music and has premiered works by Greek composer Thanos Chrysakis. He performs as a soloist and as a member of The Set Ensemble.

He is also involved with theatre music, and recently contributed to an original soundtrack for Florian Zeller's stage play The Mother starring Gina McKee. Chris has performed at Shakespeare's Globe and toured with circus companies NoFit State, and Imagineer.

One off sessions have seen Chris performing alongside Moby, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Lol Coxhill, Vieux Farka Touré, Fatoumata Diawara, Alexander Hawkins, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Lisa Hannigan.

He has released three solo albums, Gustav Lost in 2016 (FMR Records), The Disruptive Forest in 2017 (Confront), and the mini-album Crude Attempt in 2020 (Pressing Records). A further album of acoustic bass clarinet compositions is expected in 2021 titled Of All The Common Flowers.

Picture of Chris Cundy

Using a combination of feedback, conventional guitar techniques and instrumental preparations, London-based musician
James O' Sullivan exploits the full sonic potential of electric guitar and amplifier, relating them meaningfully to the immediate physical environment.

His interest in improvisation, recording and performance has led him to record and perform across the UK and internationally, both solo and with numerous improvised music groups. More longstanding arrangements include Found Drowned, a trio with Pete Marsh and Paul May, and his collaboration with Thanos Chrysakis on several releases on the Aural Terrains imprint. 

His debut solo album, 'feed back couple', was released in 2011. His second solo album, IL Y A,  is out now on the Linear Obsessional imprint.

Picture of James O' Sullivan

Presspectives

Eyal Hareuveni — Free Jazz Blog — 15.06.2016

Another collaboration between Chrysakis, now playing laptop computer, synthesizer and radio sounds, and Cundy, again on the bass clarinet, with London-based electric guitarist James O’Sullivan, a regular in percussionist Eddie Prévost's weekly improvisational workshops, recorded on November 2013.

This is a set of six free improvisations, each one attempts to offer a common ground between the three parallel sonic universes - the otherworldly sounds and noises of the laptop and the synthesizer, the deep-tones, short breaths of the bass clarinet, and the metallic, resonating strumming and hammering of the strings of the electric guitar. Again, the atmosphere is reserved, the interplay is patient and subtle, slowly structuring and destructuring the tension, offering arresting and rich soundscapes. Some of these improvisations, like the second one or the tortured fourth one, even gain suggestive cinematic qualities, as their interplay is colored with detail and nuance.

Todd McComb — Jazz Thoughts — 8.3.2015

Asphodels Abide is the latest release from Thanos Chrysakis (this time naming flowers instead of gems): The basic sounds & conception are familiar from his other releases, leading to an enjoyable trio album, featuring a classical sense of balance similar to those of his other recent albums. Although I found Asphodels Abide easier to follow on first listening than most albums mentioned here, it engages the ear, and continues to elaborate a particular personal perspective on the "exoticism" of laptop oriented improvisation, forged into something coherent & indeed limited enough in its activity to be readily discernible in its form, in spite of pitch bending & other (harmonic) disorientation. The manipulation of & interaction with plucked (by James O'Sullivan on guitar) string resonance is one of the most appealing aspects, but (the previously unknown to me, although note that he's been on Creative Sources) Chris Cundy is also quite adept at pitch bending on the clarinet. Although I've repeated the notion of classical balance, there is also an elemental glory in sound that comes through on Asphodels Abide. I believe it's an album that could actually appeal to a broader audience, given the right introduction, which I'm probably not providing. (In fact, it makes me curious to experiment on small children. Enough of Mozart!).

Guillaume Belhomme © Le son du grisli — 14.09.2015

[FR]

Après SYNEUMA, Thanos Chrysakis (synthétiseur, ordinateur et radio) et James O’Sullivan (guitare électrique) ont défié un autre clarinettiste que Jerry Wigens : Chris Cundy, entendu déjà sur quelques références Creative Sources (Structures, Two Plump Daughters).

Sur la couverture, derrière la beauté grise des fumerolles, perce un bleu charron. C’est précisément l’atmosphère qui transpire d’Asphodels Abide. Ainsi l’heure est-elle à l’évaporation, mais une évaporation commandée par de franches mécaniques : guitare battue au niveau de ses micros, électronique de surface et clarinette évasive. Certes, les musiciens tournent parfois en rond – le disque renferme six improvisations –, semblent chercher leur chemin. Mais l’électricité bientôt les récupère, et le temps vire au bleu.

Jan Faix — His Voice Magazine — 9.3.2015

[CZECH]

Již po několik let v Anglii usazený světoběžník řeckeho původu si v posledních letech spíše již jen neuspěchaně evolučním způsobem rozvíjí vlastní estetiku v oblasti experimentální elektro-akustické improvizace, jednak vlastními projekty a nahrávkami a také i skrze dramaturgii svého labelu Aural Terrains, jenž patří k těm s trvale vysokým kvalitativním standardem.

Ty tam jsou však dnes doby téměř mystického hledaní "absolutního ne-idiomu", dnes se přistává zase více na zemský povrch, kde to prostě drhne a chrastí i podle nejbanálnějších fyzikálních zákonitostí a někdy i podle žánrových zlozvyků samotných hudebníků, byť jde nejčastěji o volně pojatou improvizaci na základě zkušenosti ze současné vážné hudby či z také různě se vyvíjejícího freejazzu. Do toho je tu vedle O'Sullivanovy kytary a Cundyho arzenálu plátkových dechů také Chrysakisův laptop a syntezátor oscilující mezi ambientním dobarvováním, liveprocessingem, vzpomínkami na analogovou historii kosmische musik a noisovymi hradbami. Intenzita může být někdy stejně vysoká, jako je jindy nerozhodná sonicky statická pasivita, oba póly jsou tu však oproti namátkovým běžným reálným skutečnostem velmi epické a sdělné.

Album ale může být shrnuto tak, že barev se sice odehrálo mnoho, avšak ve stále podobné intenzitě. Tato hudba by si dost možná zasloužila o poznání větší množství dynamické exprese/menší množství komprese... To jsou ale spíše hnidopišské názory na zpracování nahrávky, muzikantsky jde každopádně o nebývale skvěle sehrané trio, které umí z rukávu ve správném čase vytáhnout mnoho pěkných, překvapivých a osobitých triků.