Stathis Theocharakis

Wish You a Nice Resurrection!

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The music of Stathis Theocharakis stands uncomfortably at the border of new age and avant-garde music. Actually, it doesn't so much stand there as it leaps from one side to the other. One minute the pianist plays a romantic theme accompanied by the saxophone of Fanis Panagiotopoulos (the ghost of Kenny G hovering in the distance); the next you find yourself knee-deep in twisted sound textures courtesy of Costis Drygianakis, who contributes interesting laptop experimental electronica. The problem is that these two "sides" of Wish You a Nice Resurrection! ("Kali Anastasi!" in its Greek title) are hardly reconcilable and the composer makes little effort in that direction, letting opposite sections clash without a clear purpose. Avant-garde music fans tend to like being able to draw the line ("this is brilliant experimental music" versus "this is new age crap"), and this CD simply won't let them do that. "Point Zero" is excruciatingly syrupy and so is the beginning of "By Definition," but then you land in a Drygianakis-drenched section, a collage of such troubled emotions and darkness that you forget what came before. Then comes "Romance," featuring a free improvisation of sorts (including a contribution from cellist Nikos Veliotis), and you just don't know where you are standing anymore. Free improv, new age-y keyboard soundscapes, sound art, and mainstream soprano sax? By trying to tear through genres and categories (something other composers like Drygianakis and Petros Theodorou also try), it seems Theocharakis reached a dead end.

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