Yiorgis Sakellariou’s “Degti” reviewed by Vital Weekly

Without giving the information too much attention, I just started playing this new cassette by Yiorgis Sakellariou. I heard quite a bit of his work over the years and the quality is quite high, so there is not much to ‘worry’ there. Also, as I know much of his work is based on site-specific recordings, I thought it would be nice to guess the sort of location. I was wrong; on both accounts, as it turned out that the two main pieces here are from various locations. The third piece is a reprise of the first, which is the title piece and here he uses recordings from a vodka factory in Vilnius, Degtiné, which lends its title to the music. I could not have guessed this was a vodka factory, but a factory, yes, I guessed that right. The other side, contains, ‘Be Pavadinimo’, consisting of environmental sounds recorded in various locations in Greece and Lithuania. In both pieces, we hear ‘traditional’ Sakellariou elements, one of which is the collage approach he applies to work with sound. Various blocks are created and within each section, he transforms the sounds little by little, until it cuts or fades to the next section. Another trademark element is the strong dynamics of the music, ranging from quite loud to very quiet. In the ‘Be Pavadinimo’, these are mainly recordings from nature and natural events, a campfire, wind and the rustling of leaves.
Sometimes the cassette has a bit of difficulty with the low-end of the music (compared to the Bandcamp download), but it works well. In the title piece, there is a great interaction between sounds recorded from some distance and very close by, space versus machines. And machines offer monotony, but in the hands of Sakellariou, this monotony works in favour of the piece. The workings of the factory, distilling and bottling are something that becomes clear once you know the sources, and it has a surprising ‘industrial music element’ to it, especially towards the end of the piece. Two great pieces, of course, once again, and I preferred ‘Degti’, because of the quite different sound material used. (FdW)

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