Into the Light compile a double disc collection of material from 2 Katara, the intriguing collaboration between George Theodorakis (son of prolific Greek composer Mikis) and Dimitris Papangelidis. Break at Home (Original Studio Recordings 1981-1991) is the fruit of 10 years work, recorded in and around the Theodorakis family studio on the Philopappou hill of Athens.
Having been a little spoiled by Into the Light’s previous reissues of Greek experimental music, including the recent, sublime Akis Space, Time and Beyond (Selected Works 1986-2016) or George Theodorakis’ own The Rules Of The Game: Original Studio Recordings (1978-1996), much of Break at Home listens like a series of outlines (at times tantalisingly incomplete) that point towards a great unmade album. But that’s not to say there isn’t plenty to enjoy in hearing the interplay between these two musicians on the first disc, which ranges from fuzzy analog funk (Break at Home 2) to slinky pop fusion for consenting adults (Mr Blase 2). Of the brief, numbered ‘Break at Home’ experiments that make up the A side, 6 is the most realised – blasting into high altitude psychedelia reminiscent of Holland Tunnel Drive
Perhaps inevitably with a compilation cut from ten years of material, the sheer variety and scope of music on offer here is dizzying at times. If the first disc serves up skewed boogie and skronky mediterranean pop, the second finds 2 Katara in contemplative mood, focusing on texture and atmosphere to develop a darker sound-world. For me, it’s the last three tracks that elevates Break at Home from a snapshot of studio experimentation into another realm entirely.
A read of the press sheet that accompanies the record references the influence of Greek traditional music on the duo’s latter material, forming the basis of ‘I Can Not’, an ambient interpretation of a folk lament from the Epirus region in north western Greece, and inspiring the delicate placement of sounds and digital pipes on ‘Sunrise’. Both hint at an increasing maturity and confidence; however, it’s the last track that 2 Katara recorded, the 17 minute ‘Greek Lady’ that closes the set with a monster they were threatening to make all along. Opening with a wash of tense arpeggios and distant rhythms that advance into focus, ‘Greek Lady’ has that smoke-rising-in-the-distance thing for days. Around four minutes in the murk lifts to reveal a moody drum/bass/organ dub with backwards recording of a Greek orthodox priest chanting. It’s somewhere between The Fixx and Tortoise via Stalker-era Edward Artemiev – totally holy grail stuff and properly cosmic. Well, well worth the price of admission on its own.
Thanks to the George Theodorakis himself for sharing the above videos, you can check out his YouTube page here. Break at Home (Original Studio Recordings 1981-1991) is out now on Into the Light records – stream the other tracks below: