Stathis Theocharakis

...Without Vestments

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Greek keyboardist/composer Stathis Theocharakis released ...Without Vestments in 1999. The album is presented as a continuous piece split in two main parts with 15 subdivisions. The continuity is found within the general atmosphere of the album, but each track could be taken out of context without losing much of its appeal. Even though it was released on the Greek avant-garde label Edo, Theocharakis' CD mostly belongs to instrumental new age music. It is keyboard-driven, highly tonal, and melodious, with samples and electronics for added textures. Actually, it seems the keyboardist provided the melodies and song structures, while Costis Drygianakis (who also produced the album) devised the accompanying soundscapes. A host of contributors bring punctual touches of percussion, guitar, violin, and ethereal vocals -- there's even a children's choir. In general, the mood of "...Without Vestments, Part I" tends to be more disquieting than the serene second half. Dissonances hide in dark corners and a haunting, plaintive violin appears in "...Without Vestments, Part I: Beatnik." Theocharakis' recurring use of electric piano-derived keyboard patches recalls the music of Carolyn Hume and Paul May. ...Without Vestments is not what one would call a striking album, but fans of intelligent instrumental music will have fun sailing on its waters.

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