Promnesia: a snapshot of a deep and absorbing universe of friendly sound

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Panos Alexiadis, Promnesia, Thalamos.net, cassette THLMS03 (2016)

I hope no-one minds if I don’t provide an image of the cover of Panos Alexiadis’ “Promnesia” as it’s just blank white with the recording’s title running across in a plain font 1. Although there is a very nice sheen across it when viewed at an angle under the light that hints¬†there is something quite complex hiding beneath … and indeed the music is actually less modest and more expansive than its simple packaging might suggest. Recorded over a year and a half from mid-2014 on, with modular synthesiser the main instrument, “Promnesia” is a highly absorbing and hypnotic journey into abstract sound universes. It’s almost like a throwback to the instrumental cosmic space improv music created by experimental musicians living in central and eastern Europe during the mid to late 20th century – I’m thinking of that CD of Hungarian experimental improv by Zoltan Pongracz and Ivan Patachich I still have which I reviewed for TSP several years ago.¬†Alexiadis himself is based in Athens and his primary instrument in creating improvised sound worlds is a modular synthesiser.

On Side A, “A Husk of Meaning” is an awed child experiencing the wonders of space travel for the first time, by turns respectful and not a little frightened at seeing the stars and galaxies whiz past the ship travelling at faster than light speeds, and curious about the strange bleepy-bloopy sounds produced by the ship’s console and matter / anti-matter fusion drive that powers the vehicle along. It’s hard to tell if “A Husk of Meaning” and “Growing Between Them” are actually two separate tracks or just one track but I assume they’re separate because the second half of Side A is a progressively darker, woozier and watery-sounding piece with background noises suggestive of lakeside ambience and mechanical insect chirpiness.

Side B starts playfully with the twinkly “Dried Voices” which gradually suspends itself in a special region of space where pure sounds reverberate and intone in a secret language of blips, tinkles and doinks all their own. Again there could be two tracks or just the one, I find telling the music apart very tricky with the mood changes being more gradual rather than abrupt.

Even though the recording is not long, it’s amazingly deep and its mostly playful and light mood is infectious enough that I find myself playing it at least twice each time I get it out of its case. For a brief while you’re floating in a serene little universe with friendly sonic aliens as your tour guides and companions.

Contact: Panos Alexiadis (Soundcloud)

  1. I have taken the liberty of adding an image from http://thalamos.net. (Ed.)

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