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OPTICAL MUSICS - The First Words. Recordings 1984-1987

Format: do-CD & BOOK
Label & Cat.Number: Noise Below / More Mars Team mm20 / Hxoi Kato Apo To Spiti HXOI V-02
Release Year: 2017
Note: OPTICAL MUSICS was a Greek avantgarde project with COSTIS DRYGIANAKIS, working as an open collective in the fields of free improvisation, anti-music and electro-acoustic experiments, often influenced by visual elements like scores and photos, and using various strange objects as instruments... here 27 unpublished works of the group are presented, incl. a 64 page book (Greek & English)
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €16.00

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"Optical Musics is a pioneering Greek avant-experimental project, founded by Costis Drygianakis and a group of people, formed in Volos. They were early experimenting with musical forms like free improvisation and electroacoustic experimentation etc, creating a highly personal musical idiom. From 1984 to mid-1987 the group started to make their most absurd home recording. The line-up of the group changed several times acted like an open collective, with the line-up of the group, focused more on experimentation with custom instruments, child instruments, synthesisers, bass etc. The most sophisticated recordings was used for the the disc “Optical Musics Volume 1” LP, released in 1987. Some other recordings of that period was used / recycled in personal works by Kostis Drygianaki like “Post-visual landscapes” (EDO, CD, 1999) and “Eantaisglossaistonanthroponlalokaitonangelon” (EDO, CD, 1999).

The “First Words: recordings 1984 – 1987”, that is presented here, is including 27 unpublished works of the group, maybe their more rough material, which were then a work-in-progress or “unfinished” tracks, covering a wide range of musical experimentation (free improvisation, minimalism, avant gard). With this publication, we are very happy to bring to light recordings of Optical Musics, a group that at that period did not get the publicity they deserved, but in the future their music influenced a younger generation of people in Greece that involved in the Greek experimental music scene.

Optical Musics’s “First Words: recordings 1984 – 1987” is out as a 2x CD with a book (Greek + English version) of 64 pages, full with information and images of that period. The recordings include alphabetically the musicians: Takis Agrigiannis, Kostas Anestis, Giannis Argyropoulos, Eleni Barouksi, Costis Drygianakis, Christos Kaltis, Aleksis Karavergos, Kostas Kostopoulos, Nikos Ksirakis, Kostas Pantopoulos, Thanasis Chondros, Aleksandra Katsiani. This release is a collaboration of the labels moremars, Hxoi Kato Apo To Spiti and Noise Below."


"These two releases are very much connected. The double CD and booklet provides a proper
historical context for the Greek band Optical Musics, in their earliest years, 1984-1987, while on cassette main member Costis Drygianakis performs 'a reconstruction of underestimated and
mislaid recordings from the period 1984-1987', so perhaps something we would have called back
then 'recycled'; taking recordings apart and put them together in a totally different way. Best
turned to the two CDs first, and the highly informative book that comes with (64 pages, 7"x7" sized) this music. I reviewed their 'Volume 2' before, all the way in Vital Weekly 66, and it's is possible that I also did 'Volume 1' when Vital (without weekly) was printed on paper, but I guess we have to wait for the complete volume to re-appear (later this year!). Back then in VW 66 I had some problem with saying something sensible about the group, but now I learned that they started in 1984 as a fleeting membership group and that they were inspired by visual elements, scores, photos, to play their improvised music, or better taking their cue from John Zorn's 'I compose improvised music', and apparently using the studio as an extra instrument. I must admit that notion is a bit beyond me when hearing this. I gather I was expecting something along the lines of P16.D4 is that respect but that seems not to be the case. Much of what they do sound improvised, composed or otherwise, leaving space for non conventional instruments, such as 'pruning shears, ground connector, drawer, children's toys, next to bass, guitar, lots of drums and percussion and a variety of organ sounds (casio MT65 and PT 30) and synthesizer, the trusted Yamaha DX-7. As we progress through the recordings it becomes evident that the band learned to play and structures become more complex, layered together (as opposed to the two-track stereo recordings on the first disc), allowing a bit more (free-) jazz elements; sometimes it is all electronic and almost musique concrete, and at other times it is more like free rock, although Optical Musics never hammer away. It is, all in all, quite a diverse release, and while not
always something that I enjoyed (too random at times), it was a fine archival release."