Larry Gus

Years Not Living

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Listening to Years Not Living, the second album by Greek producer Panagiotis Melidis aka Larry Gus, it makes sense that he composed music for TV commercials to subsidize his income in between albums. From the first strains of opening track "With All Your Eyes Look," there's something about his kaleidoscopic sample-based beats and phaser-drenched textures that seems right out of the hyper-saturated and unrealistically flowery world of detergent ads, public service announcements, and community college orientation videos. The sunshine pop sample that opens up "The Night Patrol (A Man Asleep)" quickly fades from its kitschy AM radio tunefulness into a slinky bassline and Melidis' dark and throaty vocals. Sample-heavy dark disco moods contrast with more brightly rendered textures, finding a voice somewhere between Matthew Dear's icy nocturnal worlds and the decidedly early-morning field-trip beats of Caribou. The stuttering music box and female vocal samples that "Taxonomies" builds on are a perfect example of this, with found-sound fragments of saxophone and spiritual tambourine floating in and out of the mix like a buoy bobbing on the water. Melidis injects just enough noise to even out both the sometimes acidly happy feelings and the too-slick electronic grooves. "The Sun Plagues" matches deep chanting vocals with overblown fuzz guitar lines. Though probably not the intended reference point, the groove-oriented backbones of the songs meeting up with the more outlandish and noisy interjections of samples brings to mind DJ Shadow's revolutionary Endtroducing... album, where each sample was given its few seconds in the spotlight before the next piece of the arrangement came in for its turn. Between the Day-Glo commercial sounds, the glassy house and disco tracks, and Melidis' penchant for completely disjointed found sounds, Years Not Living becomes a subtle but distinct collage, and a catalog of grooves in a constant state of pleasant disruption by his collection of otherworldly noises and samples.

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