Posts Tagged ‘this is the mythology of modern death’

Thee Koukouvaya, Mind Brains at Stereo Embers

Thee Koukouvaya

An absolute mind-fuck of seductive electronic imagination, nothing much prepared us for this release in August on Saint Marie Records. Plumbing the depths of time while skimming along on the visceral edge of the modern, this Greek band came out of a kind of cosmic left field and left us flattened and exhilarated. “Consider Eno and Roedelius basking in a programmed, sundialed heat, their lizard tongues darting, lolling, darting some more” we said about one of the tracks (“Prismatic Sun”) and that’s but a fraction of the exotic-yet-musically-grounded work that was perfected half a world away on the island of Crete. Consider us mesmerized, ecstatic, and chilled out down to our very marrow. This record left us breathless in the very best way.

Mind Brains

A simply unbelievable stroke of avant/guerilla art-rock, it was this record as much as any that made us just give up being surprised by the unparalleled pop experimentalism issuing out of that never-ending hotspot Athens, GA. Another Hannah Jones joint (as we had fun saying), she of The New Sound of Numbers among any number of other gooseflesh-raising outfits on the excited fringe of what we might call the ‘American Down Under,’ this release wound our clocks in every imaginable direction. Full of dense but adroit surprises at every turn, what choice did we have but to marvel. So far under the radar of most music outlets as to pass by without so much as leaving a shadow, we here at SEM were lucky enough to catch a mythical glimpse, and the DNA of our musical horizons were likely changed forever, and amen to that.

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Thee Koukouvaya at Magnet

Thee Koukouvaya released This Is The Mythology Of Modern Death earlier in the year, and today we’ve got a glimpse into the band’s dark and claustrophobic electronica.”Chicago Warehouse Party 1995” is moving and strange, a constantly engaging piece of instrumental music.

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Thee Koukouvaya at Here Comes the Flood

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Thee Koukouvaya at Big Takeover

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Thee Koukouvaya at Stereo Embers

Released in August, “This is the Mythology of Modern Death” by East Coast post-rock illusionists Thee Koukouvaya (John O’Hara, Brian Wenckebach), despite its gothy title, is an album of soaring, shimmering, sometimes sobering soundscapes that rather demands, forthwith, sole possession of the word ‘mesmerizing.’ Doesn’t matter if it sounds like ancient Sumerian drum ‘n’ bass excavated, pulled gently apart and woven back together by the genius hands of a cosmic taffy consciousness (“Anacona”) or presents as a Kraftwerk-considers-house-music, goes-back-in-time-to-invent-it-better-the-first-time workout like “Chicago Warehouse Party, 1995” or is tinged with the vibetronics of a mellow mad scientist in his sealed underwater lab like “Phantoms of the Last Age” is, the effect on the coils of the listening consoles deep within your mind will be the same: they’ll all light up in the radiant pastels of a pleasure center lost in the timely electronic mists.

Now, I realize I’m waxing all over-verbal here, bordering on some level of poetic hyperbole but what’s a guy supposed to do? The press release mentions the band as being “the conceptual aural sister city to Vilandredo, Rethymno, on the island of Crete,” which is no help at all – though they are actually from there, which only adds to the uncertainty – so I’m out here on my own (kind of nice out here, actually), so…

Consider the BBC Radiophonic Workshop gone off (or perhaps on) its meds – “40.207958.-74.041691” – resulting in a Martin Hannettized glimpse of fetching paranoic madness. Consider Eno and Roedelius basking in a programmed, sundialed heat, their lizard tongues darting, lolling, darting some more (“Prismatic Sun”). Consider the soundtrack to a state of suspended animation electrified by limitless possibility, composed in a dream state near a stone wall overlooking the Mediterranean (“The Magnetic State,” flat-out lovely). Lastly, consider an ecstasy that feeds on a highly agitated subdued-ness, balancing a snake charmer’s chalice in one hand, the cinematic equivalent of a bold wistfulness in the other, the product of which is called “A Life in a Portolan Chant” that ends the album on a note of bewitchment in its truest form.

A complete piece of work mindfully executed, This is the Mythology of Modern Death defines itself out on life’s teeming fringes where intimation is rich, innuendo riveting, where the disturbed and ecstatic mingle without either one having a hint of wariness for the other. The mood, overall, in short unadorned terms, is one of uplifting angst or something close to it, and it’s pretty great (and available here).

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Thee Koukouvaya at Indiessance

As a kid, I learned homekeys from a typewriting textbook. Then wrote some sci-fi shorts inspired by pulp fiction featured in Omni Magazine and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. One of my stories was published in the high school’s literary magazine. The previous year, I wrote Don’t Underestimate Sour Meat, which was shown to the editor, but may have been too controversial to publish.

What I did with story-scapes, the experimental electronic band Thee Koukouvaya does with soundscapes. Building environments with sonic elements for the imagination to discover and explore. Melodies, chords and sonic patterns resonating with quantum particles in carbon-based life forms. New soundscapes from Thee Koukouvaya’s latest album titled This Is The Mythology Of Modern Death have been listed and described below with words.

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Thee Koukouvaya at God is in the TV

Thee Koukouvaya is the conceptual aural sister city to Vilandredo, Rethymno, on the island of Crete. The group’s architects are based on the East Coast of the United States and craft beguiling sci fi- techno garnished with a psychedelic flourishes and post-rave embellishments, it possesses a elliptical genreless shape shifting quality. We have the video premier for their track ‘Chicago Warehouse Party 1995’ taken from their album ‘This Is The Mythology of Modern Death’ which came out on Saint Marie Records on the 9th of October.

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Thee Koukouvaya at This Is Books Music

John O’Hara and Brian Wenckebach are the two men behing Thee Koukouvaya and what they create, at least with This Is The Mythology Of Modern Death(Saint Marie) is a collection of music that brings you deep into your own feelings and solitude, to make you feel what you need to feel but it will immerse you deeper, if that makes any sense. What I’m trying to say is with their electronic sensibilities, they are able to create something that can fit in any mood at any time, anywhere. You could easily imagine hearing this in television shows, movies, or video games and in fact, I think they would do very well in those fields and become a success. What exactly is this mythology they mention in the album’s title, what is the difference between modern death and the death of ancient times, or is it a way to make you think of the possibilities, then think of the possibilities of what this music could do within any context? Maybe it’s like the film The Myth Of Fingerprints, you’re trying to figure out if we’re really more common than we think we are, and what can be done to let everyone know we are all one? Maybe the music is a celebration of oneness via the beauty of differences. Whatever it is, it’s a nice album for those who enjoy electronic music power and the paths it creates along the way.

(This Is The Mythology Of Modern Death will be released on October 9th and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com.)

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Thee Koukouvaya at Collapse Board

People can disappear behind their creations. I used to – all day long, I’d run a story in my head, and act out the dialogue under my breath. Long walks shifted into expeditions to far away kingdoms and alternate dimensions; the playground transformed into an alien planet; my mom’s bed (never mine) was a prime stage for tropical lizard adventures. Whenever I retreated to these worlds, I no longer had to worry about myself getting in the way. I’d just leave the real me behind, and I could do anything.

Electronic music-makers like Thee Koukouvaya thrive on this invisibility. By removing their selves from their craft – and donning the mask of their baffling band name – the duo are free to build their imaginary metropolis of crystal and steel. And, what’s more, since there’s no human identity to guide or distract, the listener can explore that world unhindered.

“Drunk Machine” offers lots of possibilities – is it a bustling space station, with monitors clicking and whirring whilst you’re awaiting your next orders? Is it a dark alley way in Chicago in 2023, just outside of a building that you’re about to infiltrate with your remote-controlled spy camera? (Oblique video game reference. My specialty.) Your call. Whatever you imagine, the gently pulsing tune lends just enough texture to your escapade without demanding any prerequisite place or time. Mouse on Mars got really good at this kind of lively ambiguity; maybe Thee Koukouvaya could be writing their own soundtracks for dystopian futures or long lost civilizations if they keep at it.

But that’s such a weird name, you say. Yeah, well. I’m sure I gave myself a lot of weird names when I went exploring. Fantastic worlds demand fantastic monikers.

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Thee Koukouvaya at Performer

 

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