Costis Drygianakis (once the leader of the Greek experimental group Optical Musics) has developed an impressive technique on reel-to-reel tape recorders that allows him to transcend the anachronistic nature of the device (after all, this is the 21st century) without stripping away all of its charm. In this live performance, he duets with cellist Nikos Veliotis, a regular partner for a few years now. Veliotis' playing is strongly informed by British free improvisation, but it leans toward reductionism. He demonstrates a wide palette of sounds and textures. Drygianakis records him and toys around with the tapes, playing them backwards, changing speed, and "scratching" like a hip-hop DJ would do with a turntable. Veliotis also has access to a wah-wah pedal to mess around with his partner's output. The continuous 65-minute improv on this disc unfolds as follows. First, Veliotis adopts a certain mood (long, deep-bowed notes, for instance). After a while Drygianakis begins to use that material, prompting the cellist to move on to something else (it could be pizzicato playing or wood-on-string texture-making). It gives the piece a modular aspect that runs against the natural flow of an improvisation, a flaw compensated by the uncommon strange results, very different from the real-time laptop-powered sound processing pioneered by Evan Parker with his electro-acoustic groups. 28/04/2001 is released in a limited edition of 160 CDRs by Absurd as part of its "Research Center for the Definition of Happiness" series.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture