On Saturday, March 30th, we witnessed a very special show at Death Disco in Athens. The project Hackedepicciotto that consist of Alexander Hacke (of Einstürzende Neubauten) and Danielle De Picciotto (of Space Cowboys) performed as a duo their unique music. The support band chosen for this event was The Man & His Failures, side project of Manos K. from Mani Deum.

The Man & His Failures played a half hour set. Frontman Manos K. appeared with a new line up of musicians at his side, with Alekos Sorros (keys), Memos Pilaftsis (guitar) and Dimitris Georgopoulos (bass). They began with tracks from his debut "Persona Non Grata" E.P. like the title track, "If Mississippi John Hurt Knew What I've Done" and "Bathed In Moonlight" showcasing his more crooning side. Second song they performed was the Mani Deum track "Love Like Berlin" and them the cover "Twist In My Sobriety" by Tanita Tikaram where things started to get more electronic. This new more electro orientated direction was also the case with the next song, a new track played for the first time live. Although the electro elements stood out they balanced well with the projects sound with the persistence of the spacey guitar riffs and bass.

Next, Alexander Hacke and Danielle De Picciotto took to the stage taking their positions, with Alexander on the left, Danielle on the right, both seated. As always Alexander was barefoot holding his six string bass. While just a foot away was Danielle with her violin and hurdy gurdy. They started with "All Are Welcome", a gentle song sung by both that proved to be a very nice introduction to their music. Next was "Dreamcatcher", also from their 2017 Hackedepicciotto album "Menetekel". On "Awake", one of the only songs I was familiar with, Alexander looped the guitar part and took to drumming and also singing with his deep droning voice. At this point, Alexander found the opportunity to tell us that he and his wife Danielle have left their physical, “architectural” home in Berlin in pursuit of a freer environment of commune away from the gentrified situation of today’s society. Something they still have not found. With this they played their next song "Long Way Home". For one and a half hours, the duo captivated the crowd that had filled the club with their splendid soundscapes. A crowd that was captivated by the droning vocals, Alexander’s improvisations on bass, with the warmth of Danielle’s violin and her spoken word poetry. As we have already mentioned, it was a unique show by two very talented artists that returned to the stage for an encore after the warm reception that was given to them by the audience.

Review + Photos: Nick Drivas

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We did an interview with Y, guitarist, composer and lyricist, of post-punk / gothic rock band Remain In Light. A band from the northern town of Thessaloniki, Greece that released their third album "The Sentinel Diaries" in October 2018 on the Brazilian label Deepland records.

We see that the band has worked hard these last years releasing new material and playing live. What is like being in a band that is based in Thessaloniki?
Thessaloniki is a city with an important local rock scene. Gothic Rock and Post Punk   though, are not very present within this scene anymore. So it feels sort of lonely as there isn't much of a crowd for this genre. Also, and that is not only a local phenomenon, other similar bands lack the sense of camaraderie and mutual support, that could enhance a scene.

How do you feel the band is positioned on the local and global scene?
Remain in Light will soon be a 10 year old monster! I think we managed to build a certain name over the years with our 3 albums. We see that after our latest release "The Sentinel Diaries" on the Brazilian label (Deepland Records), our popularity has grown a lot in South America. We also seem to have quite a few fans in Germany, England and Eastern Europe.

Since forming in 2010 you have managed very well indeed, having released three albums and two singles. Tell us something about these releases and how you ended up on Deepland?
Our first album "Introduction to a Dream" was made and produced under strange circumstances! Members came and went, lyrics were altered at the last minute, songs were sung by other singers than those scheduled to do so, some drumming was real and some programmed and the whole lot was recorded in two completely separate crazy sessions with two different line-ups! Completely frantic. Thank God the magic of our excellent producer Asklepios Zambetas unified the whole in what I consider to be one of our most passionate efforts.
Our second child, "Splinters in Arcadia" saw us mature as a very specific and cohesive band with open eyes and ears. We also gigged a lot during that period. I think it was our most productive era so far despite the fact that alterations kept on happening. At that time we were still a band with 2 bassists and a guitar. During that period only one bass remained and I had to take up guitar duties. Also during that time we met a lot of people abroad who were very supportive and helped us with remixes, promotion, interviews and lots of air play on internet radios.
The third release "The Sentinel Diaries" was a real odyssey! It took only about a couple of days in total to record, as it's a one take live recording with a few overdubs, but two whole years to release. This difficult but inevitable delay took its toll as it resulted in the departure of two members but left us with what I consider to be a very solid album.
For many months, years actually, we kept on banging on record companies doors so that this material could be released. No one really wanted to take a chance with a band from Northern Greece. Keep in mind that we do everything ourselves. Songs, music, graphics, videos, booking, moving around, recordings, everything is arranged and decided (and of course payed) by ourselves. We, like most other serious bands, cherish this artistic liberty and struggle to maintain it.
I knew Nanda from Deepland Records through the net and she was already a fan of the band. So when Mad Sad from Anima Triste, told me that they planned to release something there, I made a contact too and it was frugal. The Brazilians had already released Mosquito's first release. The whole arrangement was very fast and within a month we made our final post production and all the graphics necessary for the release. Deepland embraced us and treated us very well, allowing us to maintain all the artistic freedom we need.
It is my conviction that nowadays that the rock'n'roll dream is dead and buried, artists need to invest in real and unrestricted creativity away from demands and obligations that record companies may impose.
Anyway we do not make money from this, we never did.

Do you feel more of a live band or a studio project? Any memorable moments you have encountered recording or playing live all these years?
We want to be more of a live band but so far it seems that we are more of a studio thing. I do not like the term project as it sounds very ephemeral. For various reasons it proved quite difficult to perform as often as we would like.
Yes, many memorable and often funny moments occurred during the band's life.
Our gig with And Also The Trees and Stained Veil are among the best live moments. By the way the footage for our latest video "Sons Of Terra" was shot during these gigs at the "Mavri Trypa" club.
One of the most memorable moments of the last years was when we went to Tyrnavos to record the third album. The studio was located in the middle of nowhere. Somewhere in the Thessaly prairie, in a semi-deserted area. When we arrived there, one hot midday of July in 2016, it really felt like we were somewhere in Arizona or Texas. An abandoned location, formerly a manufacture of some kind with big rusty iron gates. Scorching 45 degrees Celsius. Everything in it's big yard was in a state of decay and neglection. No one was there. We had to wait in the hot sun. When the sound people arrived, we were eager to get in, hoping for a nice air-conditioned space. Instead, when they opened the studio entrance, the whole place was reeking like an ancient tomb! It had been closed for more than 5 years at least! The place was smelling and hot, no trace of air condition… Old magazines awaited in the huge waiting room where we spent at least 4 hours before we could start playing, as everything was still disconnected and rusty…! A crazy place! The closest bar or café to get something to drink was at a 20' drive by car! We were so angry, hungry, frustrated and exhausted when we started recording… I think that if one listens to the album carefully, he will hear those particular moments of wrath and frustration… So maybe this situation, added something to our playing! LOL!

Nowadays with all this technology and computers it is easy for new artists to record music. We see that Remain In Light are more oldschool in their approach, having recorded your latest album live in the studio with only a few overdubs.
Tell us about your method/philosophy of recording?
There isn't a method to our madness. We just take what's available and best for us at a given moment. It's also necessary for the band's survival. We just cannot afford all the technological gadgets and facilities. Also as we have grown in the 80's we do not need all that stuff really… We just play music in a rather old fashioned way. Guitars, drums and vocals. Let's go…
Truth is that we could use a permanent keyboard player with some technological aces in his sleeve. LOL!

How do you see the scene today in general? We see many new dark bands popping up and various genres becoming hype (minimal wave, coldwave etc.). Do you feel that the community is strong or is there something missing?
Ok let's face it. Gothic rock and Post punk are dying. Not because there aren't new artists but mostly because there aren’t enough fans to seriously support them. I am not the only one to claim that. Promoters in the UK are desperate. People are even more than before, into fashion and showing off than going to gigs and invest in the music. Very few bands manage to still sell music in a physical format in satisfactory numbers so as to allow for the expenses of the next release. And this is also a psychological let down. When you have to pay everything from your wallet … well, at some point the wallet is empty and your enthusiasm wanes… You really have to be determined and ignore everything but your heart…
As for this latest trend for minimal wave, synth wave and colwave, well these are very old styles that were resurrected by the eternal recycling of pop culture. There are some very good acts in these genres though.
Yes, there is something missing in this egocentric planet. Solidarity.

What are your future plans? Anything on the horizon?
At the moment the band is reinventing itself. It's just me and Constantine. After Elder K abandoned the band without an explanation, we are currently working with a new singer and we are restructuring our rhythm section. It will take time. But we are in no hurry. We are producing videos for the 3rd release and writing new material. It will be something different again. And personally I am eager to see how it will evolve and what it's going to look like in the end. I am just as excited as when the band started!

Interview by Nick Drivas
Photo 1-2 : Lambros Flioukas
Photo 3 : Stacy M.

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Two of newest post-punk bands of the Athenian scene presented together live their debut albums at club Death Disco. Data Fragments just released their eponymous album on the Geheimnis Records label, while Ghostland had released their debut "Dances On Walls" in December on the French label Manic Depression. Both bands performed with drum machine.

First up on the stage where Data Fragments, a band founded in 2017. The three piece took to their positions and immediately plunged into their set. They opened with "Drawing Lines", "No Sign Of Life", "Grown Men" all from album, followed by their cover "Dance" by Boris Dzaneck. Stathis Leontiadis (known also for his previous acts Doric and Human Puppets) was on bass. His playing was brutal, thumping the basslines like there was no tomorrow. While Panagiotis Dedepsidis on vocals and guitar with Panos Dimopoulos on keys (both formerly in the band Komodia Thanatou) delivered their distorted riffs and melodies efficiently, giving the whole a cutting edge feel. One of the standout moments was when they played one of their most known songs "Falsifies The Fact". They continued with "Distant Lies", "Walking In The Rain" (another great song from the album that starting to attract attention), a new untitled track ending with "Nothing There" where it climaxed with a wail of distortion and feedback.

Next up where Ghostland, a darkwave, post-punk band formed in 2015. This time they appeared with the original three piece format with Makrina on vocals, Nikos on bass and Argyris on guitar and keys. They started with "Against The Light" the last track from their debut album. A slow song that introduced us to their more dark and atmospheric sound. Then they played more tracks from the album like "Leave Behind", "Wind Of Knives", "Sway", "Don’t Wait", "Ice Song" and "Lifeblood" one of their most known songs. Their sound was really good, as they delivered the tracks as heard on the record. Their signature sound of deep bass, atmospheric vocals and guitar parts make this band very intriguing. They continued playing an unknown song, then one of my favorites "The Dancing Crowd", ending their set with another two new songs. The new material sound great and dark so we are anticipating to hear their new stuff in the future. After the demand of the crowd their played for an encore their cover of "Heartland" by the Sisters Of Mercy.

Review + photos: Nick Drivas

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The French neoclassical darkwave band Collection d'Arnell-Andréa founded by Jean-Christophe d'Arnell (main composer, writer, piano/keyboards) and Chloé St Liphard (vocalist) in 1986 are back with their 10th studio album. The album "Another Winter" was released on February the 22nd, by Trisol, 9 years after their previous album "Vernes-Monde" on the Prikosnovénie label.

Here, Jean-Christophe d'Arnell composes once again melancholic poetic music combining cello and keyboards with the outstanding voice of Chloé Saint-Liphard, the female-singer. This time, their darkwave, neoclassical style has been merged with downtempo and synth-pop elements. From the first song "By The Pond" we are introduced to their new modern sound. More ethereal dreamy pop and less modern classical. On "Pangs Of Severance" Chloé sings over electric noisy guitars, arpeggio synths and a minimalist rhythmic loop. The next track "LeJour Venu" is more familiar since it moves in the romantic style, that we are accustomed to, with nice touches of piano. The same can be said for "LesBlés-Océans" or even the groovier "The Grief Of Waves", since they also sound fresh retaining that trademark emotional feel. The production is neatly done combining modern studio tech and drum programming to their symphonic classical structure.

On "TheShade Of A Flower", things get a bit darker and we get to hear the first track dominated by male vocals. "Barks Of Rime" that follows is another beauty with Chloé’s voice sounding as soft as velvet. On "LesBancs De Sable" and "Des Étangs En Exil" things become more electronic but with the tenacious melancholy of a nostalgic piano adding to the melody. On the albums homonymous track "Another Winter", like on most of the other songs, the lyrics evoke the universality of passing times, the sorrows and the mourning. But the remarkable thing is that these contemporary elegies are turned towards the light, thanks to their heavenly vocals. It starts off more like an electro track by gradually it turns into the typical style of the band when the strings and martial drumming arrive in the mix. Towards the end we find "Les Périssoires" that start off as a calm delicate piece put progresses with a darker twist with addition of some spiraling effects and heavy guitar. The closing track "Saules Sans Voix" has a nice steady drum beat topped with cello and viola, giving it a breezy majestic feel. Ending the album on a slightly more optimistic note.

In general, none of the 12 tracks of "Another Winter" stand out. They all have the same quality. The whole album floats into our ears effortlessly. An elegiac album enmeshed in neoclassical drama and electronic finesse. The lead vocals provided by Chloé St Liphard are captivating, while the keyboards, drum programming, drums, backing vocals by Jean-Christophe d'Arnell are all top notch. The rest of the band, Vincent Magnien (guitar), Franz Torres-Quevedo (bass), Carine Grieg (piano), Xavier Gaschignard (cello) and Thibault D'Aboville (viola) all provide their parts effectively giving that extra touch to make the compositions sound whole.

Review by Nick Drivas

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MusicFor Ordinary Life Machines is a music documentary about underground synth bands in Greece. It is directed by Nikos Chantzis and produced by Press Eject And Give Me The Tape production team that has done video clips for bands such as Ding An Sich, Paradox Obscur and Grey Gallows. It will premiere at the 21st Thessaloniki Documentary Festival this Sunday, March 4th 2019.

It documents the synth scene in Greece from the 80s up till nowdays featuring archive footage and interviews with its key players. Featuring the bands ANTI, Χωρίς Περιδέραιο, Alexandros, Alive She Died, Blakaut, Convex Model, Doric, The Exetix, HumanPuppets, In Trance 95, Kriistal Ann, Not Only Bones, Paradox Obscur, Plexiglas, RAW, Regressverbot, RR Hearse, Selofan, Statues In Motion.

From Χωρίς Περιδέραιο and Anti, to Human Puppets and Regressverbot. From IT95 and Alive She Died, to Selofan and Doric. Minimal Synth, Synthpunk and other analog stories, through a concise recording of underground synth sounds in Greece. A film about the kids who loved synthesizers”.

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