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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

THANECO: The Cretan Tapes (2019)

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

“Here is another surprise from SynGate from a musician who has a musical writing style comparable to Johannes Schmoelling's”

1 Mysteries of Crete 9:22 2 Ariadne's Thread 12:44 3 The Phaistos Disc 7:46 4 Knossos 7:08 5 Archanes 5:46 6 The Cliffs of Mountain Giouhtas 9:06 7 Festivities 7:15

8 Mysteries of Crete (Part 2) 11:23

(CD-R/DDL 70:33) (V.F.)

(Berlin School, cinematographic soundscapes)

I know Thaneco to have discover him with DASK albums, Elemental and Oneira. And I was far from suspecting the dimension of this artist who has an impressive discography. From what one reads here and there; he likes the Berlin School style along with Electronica moods such as down-tempos or Chill out music. There is indeed an Electronica vision on THE CRETAN TAPES, but it exposes lively rhythms, like up-tempos, which follow quite well the long circular curves of the sequences in the Berlin School. The rhythms overcome the ambiences with a nice complicity between the sequencer and the different sources of percussions. The Greek musician shows a beautiful structure of composition with a melodious and often romantic approach that he inserts very well in areas of complexity and between beautiful synth solos from which he also draws good layers of moods. THE CRETAN TAPES is a debut album on SynGate for Thanos Oikonomopoulos who has already released nearly 20 albums since his first, Psychic Images in 2001. The music is inspired by the history of the largest Greek island, Crete. Already, one imagines a pompous musical genre. Especially that Thaneco admits having Vangelis as an influence engine. But the Greek musician stays away from those by proposing his own signature in an album where on each listening one says; Humm… I did not hear that! It's really good!

Mysteries of Crete is not mysterious at all. The title exploits an evolutionary structure which flirts between Berlin School and Electronica with a melodious approach which knows how to make operate its charms. The rhythm takes hold of our ears from the opening, with the spasms of a sequencer which drops some rolling lines with kicks on it. A synth sticks its harmonies, while extending a large cloud of haze, voices and orchestrations that float with these voices became foggy. Percussive effects and a good bass line join this structure whose composition level is very close to the works of Johannes Schmoelling. And then percussions which slam like in a style of Electronica redirects the rhythm to something catchy and whose level of complexity is quite attractive. Especially with this sequence race, which sounds so Edgar Froese around the 6th minute. We don't bite the ceiling, but it starts quite good. Gregorian choruses are flowing in the opening of Ariadne's Thread. The sequencer activates a circular rhythm as agile as the rhythm in the opening track. The percussions, kind of huge resonant clinking, give a hopping appearance to the rhythm which serves as a seat for good solos from a synth as melodious as melancholy. The 13 minutes serve to bring the structure to phases that are momentarily stripped of their assets, without ever eliminating a rhythmic source. The finale, which sneaks in the 9th minute, is quite seductive with a piano, a mysterious mist and this Gregorian chorus whose arrangements are quite in the vein of Robert Schroeder, Harmonic Ascendant period. Very good! Voices whispering in a vocoder, the first two minutes of The Phaistos Disc are drawn from the dark territories of EM. The rhythm that comes out is more in the field of up-tempos than Berlin School, even if effects of reverberations criss-cross this structure of which the ingenuity in the meshing of sequences and percussive effects, especially towards the end, keep our ears alert.

It's with a fluid line of the sequencer that Knossos unfolds its zigzagging structure, a little like in Mysteries of Crete. The synth cooing thin lines of melodies which try to turn for solos, while the rhythm is a kind of motionless and ambient. Archanes is a pure Berlin School in the vein of Arc. Resonant with its strongly sustained sequences, the pace is slow and devious. It beats and jumps with this small imperfection in its circular loop under a sky manhandled by sibylline vibes and adorned, on the other hand, of sound elements that become discrete synth solos. A hopping rhythm on a meshing of sober sequences, a good creeping bass line, percussive effects wandering like dozens of lost steps and percussions in mode Electronica, The Cliffs of Mountain Giouhtas is a beautiful and melodious title. The electric piano forges these notes that remain fixed between our ears and the synth extends layers in ocher colors. Impossible not to like at first listen! Strings of violins with abrupt staccato and guitar riffs just as curt and lively are opening Festivities. The festive and clannish Greek vision is quite bucolic and sounds out of place in the electronic ambience of THE CRETAN TAPES. Our suspicious ears must persevere to discover the outcome of this title which gradually collects chords of keyboards and chthonian synth pads. This introduction literally melts into a good Berlin School, melodious and slightly lively. It takes an attentive ear to link the two parts of Mysteries of Crete. But Mysteries of Crete (Part 2) is definitely a continuation with a structure of rhythm more modulated by a line of bass sequences. The approach is more like a Berlin School one with nice orchestrations, good synth solos and obituary voices which encircle in a dense cloak of ambience this upward rhythm and those fluttering sequences which switch for these ghost trains which roll and roll and roll ...

Between a certain complexity in some titles, or certain phases in a title, and a more melodious music that one whistles easily at some points, THE CRETAN TAPES is a pleasant surprise. Thaneco has a musical writing comparable to Johannes Schmoelling's and of members of Tangerine Dream for the Cloudburst Flight melodies style. His first solo album on SynGate is a nice surprise that can only encourage us to discover his other albums available on his Bandcamp page.

Sylvain Lupari (May 9th, 2019) ***½**

Available at SynGate's Bandcamp

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