With our maiden release “KOURETES EP” we invite a younger generation of music enthusiasts to discover the unique world of Cretan singer and lyra player Psarantonis, a man beloved of everyone from ethnomusicologists to Rock icon Nick Cave. Antonis Xylouris is a member of a clan long regarded throughout Greece as musical royalty. A clan that hails from Anogeia, a mountain shepherding village down the hill from the Cave of Zeus (Ideon Andron), that hotspot of ancient mythology. Self-taught in lyra, Psarantonis played for the first time at a wedding feast at the age of 13 – ever since, he rose to become a living legend of music, enriching the Cretan, Mediterranean and World Music with unprecedented sounds, with unheard and unique music interpretations. Within Psarantonis' music lives the ancient mythology of Crete. Whether talking about Zeus (Dias) or the construction of the first lyra by the mythical shepherd Chantiperas or Kouretes or expressing with his lyra what he feels like an alive legend of his homeland, Psarantonis validates with his physical presence, the art of the ancient myths of Crete. Psarantonis animates myths not only by his virtuosity but also with his faith in them as he is approaching them with thought and dream, believing in their current existence and energy. Psarantonis entered the music industry in 1962 after releasing a 7-inch (45 rpm) disc although his first full length album was only released in 1973. In Greece, among the first to discover him, was Manos Hadjidakis (a Greek composer and theorist of Greek music, widely considered as one of the greatest Greek songwriters of all time) who adopted a special prize and awarded Psarantonis as "The first lyra player of Greece", during Mousikos Augoustos, held in 1979, at Anogeia. Throughout his career Psarantonis has released some 35 full length albums and collaborated with many renowned artists, including Nick Cave (on several occasions) and Vangelis on the soundtrack of the multi awarded Greek movie “El Greco”. Ignoring old age, (currently 79) he wakes up daily to practise the lyra and continues to take part in concerts across Greece and around the world (pre-COVID).
It’s taken 7 years in order to complete the “KOURETES EP” which consists of two electronic focused compositions with samples taken from Psarantonis’ legendary songs Dias (1999), Petroperdika (1999), Afou Eheis Allon Stin Kardia (1979), Na Kamo Thelo Tarahi (1986). This is the first time that such work has been attempted – no other artists have reworked original samples of Psarantonis in a manner of electronic music ever before. Our offerings come with outmost respect, looking to add to the already supreme musical legacy of Psarantonis. After his own approval, as he felt a strong connection with both tracks, we’re very proud to launch AKU MUSIK and to Introduce Greek Beatology with the “KOURETES EP” / Psarantonis – Dias Reworked (Dionysos / Wareika). From the mountains of Crete, to London, Berlin, Hamburg and Athens – this release, the music enclosed and the artwork accompanying it – are as unique as it gets. Long live Psarantonis; "The cry of gods" - This is how they preface him at the most important contemporary music festivals around the world.
On the A side, label head Dionysos (also known as Denny Kem) has recreated the atmosphere of Anogoianos Pidihtos – (the war dance that originates from the ancient mythical deities Kouretes back in the Minoan time) and incorporated physical instruments such as frame drums, bells, singing bowls, a tabla and qraqebs paired with heavy kicks coming from the monstrous machines that are Roland TR-808 and Roland TR-909. The original samples of Psarantonis’ music as well as his spoken words come in harmony with the overall composition – making this 10-minute track a slow burner, gradually unfolding, with focus to take the listener to a transcendental journey. Just as Psarantonis has done with his music for almost 7 decades now.
On the flip side Wareika have succeeded to transform the initial rework and made it their own, taking the journey a step further than the A side of this record. With their signature sound, Wareika have created a dancefloor focused masterpiece with bold improvisation spanning across 12 minutes. Henrik’s custom-built Oud comes in place from an early stage, Jakob’s never-ending mastery on the MPC commands the overall track and Florian’s unique percussive explosion adds a new essence to Psarantonis’ original samples of Dias and Afou Eheis Allon Stin Kardia. The analogue synthesizer pads are deep, moving organically – just like the state of someone who is practising meditation. The glue that holds everything together is the baseline which will take you to soundscapes familiar with Wareika’s own world and personalities. The result of their rework is pristine and will capture your imagination in a way that only Wareika could have achieved. Let’s put it this way – there simply couldn’t be anyone else out there to do the job the way Wareika have. Including their interpretation on our maiden release could only add artistic value of the highest calibre to an already monumental artist such as Psarantonis.
The “KOURETES EP” is pressed at The Vinyl Factory on 12” heavyweight 180gsm Black Vinyl. Limited edition of 500 copies – not to be repressed.
Dedicated to Valia Somaraki.