With Winter Trilogy / The Big Fall we welcome Fani Konstantinidou to Moving Furniture Records.
On this debut CD she presents two EPs brought together.
The two trilogies were realized between 2015-208 in the Netherlands and implemented into a sequence of live shows during the same period. Both inspired by cultural sonic imprints, the Winter Trilogy (computer &* accordion) and The Big Fall (computer & analog synthesizer) explore the potential and the antitheses between analog versus digital while expressing a personal view of particular rural landscapes.
Winter Trilogy / The Big Fall
The two trilogies were realized between 2015-2019 in the Netherlands and implemented into a sequence of live shows during the same period. Both inspired by cultural sonic imprints, the Winter Trilogy (computer & accordion) and The Big Fall (computer & analogue synthesizer) explore the potential and the antitheses between analogue versus digital while expressing a personal view of particular rural landscapes.
Growing up in Greece and living and working in the Netherlands for more than 10 years, I experience two specific landscapes and temperaments that without a doubt influence my music. My relationship with certain musical instruments, sound objects, and music styles but also my exposure to the Greek and Dutch urban and rural environments have always been a source of inspiration and remain very present in all my compositions.
The Winter Trilogy, is a result of a trip to my home town when I found an accordion in my family’s house and decided to see its influence in my music. The Big Fall, on the other hand, resulted by experimenting with analogue synthesizers that I had the opportunity to access in the Netherlands. At the same time, since my main instrument on stage is always a computer, I am genuinely interested in finding a balance between analogue and digital sound material while experimenting with the audience and its ability to remain concentrated to the sounds without significant visual stimuli. However, regardless of the sound sources and the compositional ideas, both trilogies are mostly inspired by moments, people, and certain places in GR & NL that I visited the last years, and they are an amalgam of personal experiences and emotions.
BY JACK CHUTER / 04 DEC 2019 / RECORD
The bellows collapse. There is an expulsion of air, but then so much more: a low drone that pools like water, with overtones that dance upon the surface as prism light. The thick, fermented aroma of several vanished years, of history and heritage, the scent like a matted stack of sepia photographs. The first of these two trilogies, titled Winter, was conceived when Fani Konstantinidou took a trip back to her family home and found an accordion there. Each piece is a sigh that releases the instrument from dormancy. Warmth returns to its folds and valves. A continuous drone wafts into the air, pushed gently into different shapes through a light-touch digital manipulation. Care is taken to ensure that the instrument never loses the essential musk of stagnant air and dust through which the accordion recounts its own history, as collected from the exhalations of nearby conversations or from open windows in summer, mingled with the sweet spores of untreated damp soaking into the instrument fabric. Occasionally the drones are cradled in a wind that rattles the surrounding walls, which is absorbed by the accordion as it stretches all around, like an old blanket that faithfully repels the cold. There is a meditative continuity at work throughout this first half, as Konstantinidou sinks ever deeper into the inferences rendered in the accordion’s hum until vibration becomes poetry, becomes memory, becomes identity.
I move into the second trilogy, The Big Fall, which is based on synthesiser experiments conducted in the Netherlands. It’s like stumbling out of a farmhouse and into a metropolis. Strands of electricity lash the stereo edges and fizz like neon signs. The warmth of the accordion’s exhale is replaced with the sharp sensation of touching a metal plate. No longer focused on one instrument, I find my awareness flickering between the criss-crossing stimuli, from a steely gleam in the background to anxious pulsations that rush the centre. It’s a startling contrast. Whereas harmonious overtones spill effortlessly from the accordion drone on Winter, the buzzing dissonances on The Big Fall resemble the affected and brittle coherence of bustling cities, where intuitive elegance drowns beneath the clamour of conflicting architectural intention. I sense myself jerking from a patient meditation on the past to the flashing hypnosis of our modern now. Within this meeting of disparate halves resides a wonderful remark on how environment is constantly informing our notion of time and selfhood; some places encouraging reflection on how we relate to our lineage, others collapsing all notions of identity into a cacophonous, reactive slither of present tense.
Fani Konstantinidou’s album is terrific, and worth hearing straight away. It’s set up as a ssequence of two trilogies, giving the album an accessible pacing with a natural place to pause in the middle. I like that. Soak up the first three tracks, go make another cup of tea, return for another three tracks. Stemming from the composer’s interest in “cultural and social identities” (an interest that I happen to share), the Konstntinidou’s music was inspired by both her family home in Greece (where she found the accordion at the center of “Winter Trilogy”) and her current residence in the Netherlands. The end result seems to have been shaped by live performances, though they are studio creations. I say “shaped by live performances” because there’s a liquid quality to all the music here, a lived-in warmth that has vitality to it, even as the music lingers in humming drone. That accordion provides some hard-to-place tactile qualities to the first trilogy.
It’s almost as if we can hear air moving, a body pushing and pulling on an object to release sonorities even as the music retains a floating stasis. The second trilogy, based on sound from a synthesizer, is somewhat harsher and colder than the first. Rather than the mood of still contemplation on “Winter Trilogy”, “The Big Fall” is anxious and spiky. Melodies elongated to test their limits are hidden beneath the waves, twitchy and nearly unrecognizable.
This is compelling stuff, ideal for focused repeat listenings. (HS)