In the mid 80s there was a nightclub in Athens called Graffiti. It attained near mythical status as the haunt of prominent musicians on the Greek scene, and it was co-owner Petros Skoutaris who found himself involved, as guitarist, in a series of collaborations based around the club right up to his untimely death in 2004.
The ever-solid Into The Light stamp have been putting out Skoutaris’ unreleased works, most notably in the form of Free Level, a project which brought Skoutaris together with Greek composer George Theodorakis. This new release, though, is made up of entirely solo tracks that were recently discovered on a forgotten CD-R. Big digging kudos to ITL for that. And, like almost everything found on dusty CDs in Greek basements, it’s bloody gorgeous.
Take ’Tropika’, the heavenly five-minute opener that pairs fast-moving timbalas with ethereal horns, guitar arpeggios with synth-pop drumming, showing off Skoutaris’ musical dexterity in a truly soulful, uplifting way. ‘Attica’ is like 80s B-movie OST melodies with the intrigue of urgent shakers, wide-panned toms and a fluid modus operandi that recalls the liquid jazz of The Weather Report in its cheerful complexity.
‘Yusurum (Part I)’ ramps up proceedings in an edgy and relentless funk; think off-beat plucks, ubiquitous Indian percussion, throat-singing – the lot of it. It’s a homage to NYC dub-funk outrageousness, written, arranged and co-performed by ‘fellow Athens synth-wave scene survivor Manos Skaramagkas’. Ethereal and psychedelic, ‘Yusurum (Part II)’ is more of the same but with added drum machine fun, elevating what’s already an intoxicating trip into a beast fit for the dancefloor.
Tropika is available now on Into The Light. Grab the 12” over at their Bandcamp page.