nedjelja, 25. svibnja 2014.

May Roosevelt - Music to the Poetry of Dinos Christianopoulos (2013)

Bach, Björk i Klaus Nomi sviraju teremin. Gorka grčka elektro-klasika.

Composer, musician and producer May Roosevelt has just released her new album: “May Roosevelt: Music to the poetry of Dinos Christianopoulos” on the IANOS label.
The album consists of 10 musical compositions, inspired by the poetry of Dinos Christianopoulos, in which the composer dovetails her music with the simultaneous recitation of the poems by the poet himself; thus, Roosevelt highlights the emotional resonance of his poetry, through her own musical interpretation.
Her compositions, based on the piano, are enriched by the theremin, the most characteristic feature of May Roosevelt’s music. Lyrical melodies, elements of Greek folk music and Byzantine church hymns are blended, echoing the literary pseudonym of the poet: “Christianopoulos”, and capturing both the confessional aspect of his poetry and his existential angst.
May Roosevelt was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, where she lives. She started her music studies while still very young with the violin before going on to the theremin and electronic music. She has released two solo albums and has collaborated with many Greek and foreign artists. -

May Roosevelt's electronic-classical music appeals on many levels. The Thessaloniki, Greece-based composer-instrumentalist is a theremin player, for one, and its distinctive sound is naturally central to this Ianos successor to 2011's self-released Haunted. Her piano-based compositions also are infused by the traditions of Greek folk music and Byzantine church hymns, which similarly lend her music a highly personalized quality. She's also someone who brings an above-average degree of imagination to her work, the new recording a perfect case in point as it features ten settings inspired by the writings of Dinos Christianopoulos, with the poet himself on hand to recite the texts. It's an inspired and original idea that's well-served by deluxe packaging that displays watercolour portraits of Roosevelt and Christianopoulos on both the case and a fold-out poster, which also displays the song's texts.
Throughout the album, Roosevelt accompanies Christianopoulos's recitation with haunting, instrumentally rich backdrops. With respect to Christianopoulos, his is an older man's voice, one wizened and deepened by life experience. In some songs (e.g., the sixth and ninth), he appears briefly, and consequently the piece functions more as a showcase for Roosevelt's arranging and composing gifts; in others (e.g., the eighth), he's present throughout, his voice standing out as a noticeable contrast to the theremin-rich backing.
In a typical setting, Roosevelt augments her dramatic piano playing with haunting theremin melodies, the instrument's signature warble expanded upon with ululating string-like textures and occasional accents of percussion. Collectively, the elements produce a dream-like effect, especially when the theremin is part of the mix. Dance rhythms enliven certain songs, such that the fifth sometimes feels on the verge of turning into a piano-based romp. The emotionally charged ninth, by comparison, opts for deeply felt melancholy. As one would expect, the theremin is treated as a legitimate musical instrument in this context, rather than a gimmick as is sometimes the case.
Normally a CD of thirty-one-minutes duration would be deemed too short, but in this case it feels like a complete statement, with Music to the Poetry of Dinos Christianopoulos making its well-argued case with clarity and concision. The release would have been more satisfying, however, had the Greek texts been supplemented with English translations. Having no command of the Greek language, I haven't the faintest idea of what Christianopoulos's texts are about, and, though the recording can certainly be enjoyed on purely sonic terms, the experience would be enhanced by having some grasp of its textual content. Apparently his poetry is both confessional in tone and suffused with existential angst, but it's impossible to tell if one isn't conversant in Greek. -

Haunted (2011)

May Roosevelt’s new album “Haunted” opens doors to phantoms of the past. The work’s eight musical compositions are supernatural entities of modern technology that hover in the air, bursting open the chest of rustic tradition only to be transformed into rhythms of Greek dances.
Following “Panda, a story about love and fear”, composer and thereminist May Roosevelt uncovers a dark and reclusive universe defined by motion and dance. “Haunted” starts with the zeibekiko dance rhythm in ‘The Unicorn Died’, which was composed and presented for the first time in London at the Red Bull Music Academy in February 2010. The original idea evolved through an intense speculation about the place held by traditional Greek rhythms in the canon of Greek electronic music. This exploration subsequently led to the creative transformation of eight different Greek dances presented in “Haunted”.
The Theremin, a very complex instrument yet absolutely submissive to the hands of May Roosevelt, was used to create a plethora of curious sounds ranging from wind and stringed instruments to an imitation of human voice. The Theremin’s unique sound also shifted from a bagpipe (in ‘Oomph’) to a Pontic Lyre (in ‘Mass Extermination’), and from a clarinet (in ‘Vow’) into a violin (in ‘Dark the Night’). Through the use of electronic beats to form each rhythm alongside synthesizers and vocals, May Roosevelt attempts to embed anew Greek musical idioms within contemporary music while retaining all their respectable characteristics.

The title “Haunted” – inspired by the idea of hauntology, introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida – defines the concept and underscores the character of the compositions: The phantoms of the past and the spirit of future, mingled, haunt the music of May Roosevelt.

Panda (2009)

Embarking from the ethereal tradition of Clara Rockmore, the composer and performer May Roosevelt guides the listener through 8 songs dealing with the mysterium tremendum. “Panda, a story about love and fear” is a concept album that narrates a story of a girl that is afraid of almost everything. Will she be able to overcome her weaknesses and embrace the assuring love of a panda or will her fears rule out any chance of happiness? This modern fairytale unravels through a musical dialect comprising unique vocals, English lyrics and a complex of electronic soundscapes. The eight original compositions stem from the esoteric quest for a dreamworld and define its obscure innocence. The production infiltrates the contemporary r’n'b and pop esthetics with sonic nuances of industrial electronica, screamo while leaving enough aural space for the omnipresent and otherworldly cry of the Theremin. May Roosevelt delivers an album where she maps out a path for refining not only the genre of electronica, and the ethereal frequencies but also the possibilities offered by a home studio recording, in complete absence of physical instruments. “Panda” was recorded in total by May herself; a painstaking process where at times she had to cope with broken hard drives, loss of files and other unfortunate surprises. In parallel to her music career, May Roosevelt works as a graphic designer. The EP’s artwork is designed by herself and is fully attuned to the music.

Influenced by the very reverend trinity of Bach, Bjork and Klaus Nomi, May Roosevelt is an extraordinary thereminist, composer and producer with a sense for good, old-fashioned drama. Her classical arrangements will give you the shivers (or, at the very least, remind you of movies that gave you the shivers), with nods to early industrial or electronic music and a passing resemblance to the god of thunder behind a theremin. Like many people, she got into music via her first Casio synth as a kid. If her knack for otherworldly sounds is anything to go by, that Casio must have been possessed by some very restless and musical ghosts.
Latest cover song up on the cloud ... a spooky side of "Τρύπες-δεν χωράς πουθενά"
and upcoming album: 10 tracks and 31:15 total time as stated on facebook page



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