Is this living / blown into breeze / scatter concrete / the jagged metal bad life.
Costis Drygianakis has been making music for several decades, documenting his projects sporadically, and generally escaping the notice of most outside of Greece. I first head him about a decade ago on his duo release with Nikos Veliotis, 28/04/2001, on the fantastic Absurd imprint. That duo, recorded in a theater in Athens, can scarcely prepare you for the maximalist approach of blown into breeze – in 2001, Veliotis’ cello and Drygianakis’ tape recorders are purled, entwined and teased out, their sound signal of the reductionist practices in play in Europe at that time. Veliotis and Drygianakis have remained collaborators over the years, and Veliotis can be heard in the sweep and span of blown into breeze, along with scores of others.
Pressed to point to an analogous experience of Drygianakis’ fluid, restive syncretism, I keep thinking of Godard, particularly my viewing of his 2011 Film Socialisme. Drygianakis’s sonic assemblage is similarly prismatic and fractured, jump-cut yet fluid, and sourced from media ranging from low-fi vinyl and corrupted tape, to present-day studio mélangeing and mangling. Godard’s film predictably irritated many with its integration of iPhone and digital photography, not to mention the chopped and spliced manner of its editing. While Godard is many years Drygianakis’ senior, both offer a perspective of life-review, more patchwork than summa, with an intense feeling of personal history nonetheless. Drygianakis does this with several decades of retrieved detritus – grabs of conversations, lectures, clutches of FMP-flavored free improv, liturgical music, computer noise, and more. Structuring his piece in four parts, Drygianakis is not averse, unlike many of his concrète counterparts, to dramatic peaks, the whole mash-up at times rising to crescendi that, like every element of the work, are quickly blown away.
blown into breeze takes its title from PIL’s 1979 metal box construction Second Edition, a spliced and layered collage that similarly used improvised material as base tracks, and owns, like Drygianakis’ composition, a sense of great care for both its discrete elements and its overall form.
Drygianakis’ process may mean we will see only a trickle of releases in the coming years; all the more reason you should hear this one.