Tasos Stamou & Arma Agharta
Unmarked cassette release from Russia.
(as per Discogs. Photo also from Discogs)
Since the label is marked "side A" Arma Agharta and "side T" Tasos Stamou, and the cassette itself is a plain white tape with an unmarked white label the listener will ultimately have to figure out which artist they are listening to at the time themselves.
I do believe my cassette was cued up to 'side T' Tasos Stamou since stylisticaly it was not familiar to me and I am already hip to Arma's sound.
As i listen to Tasos Stamou's track, New River I find myself hypnotized by the looped voices and echoed bursts of static that groove like a train. Even though Tasos occasionally blasts into some harsher sounds they don't become particularly overbearing but instead add to the trance. The sound of live flutes mixed with droning sitar loop creates an almost jazz-like effect comparable to Alice Coltrane at moments, perhaps. After a few last moments of synthesizer drone mixed with classic bleeps and bloops, the piece shuts itself down. Just like that, Tasos Stamou, New River is over.
a good listen. ****4 Asterisks
After a stretch of the legs and a turn of the cassette it's time to rock to Arma Agharta's flipside, Old River.
Old River begins with sounds reminiscent of synthesized birds and slowly builds into a very listenable cacophony of sound then suddenly stops and after you hear some droning there comes a voice, then there's more cacophony. One would think on Pierre Henry's "Cortical Art III" from 1973 or H. Tical's legendary "Impact Synthesized Sound and Music" from 1971 when listening to Arma Agharta's Old River. I find a section approximately 12 minutes into the number, with organ sounds through assorted effects entrancing:"The spaceship has landed and they've invited me in to groove" but then it's gone, replaced with electronic chirps, a heavily effected human voice and a rhythm loop that isn't quite edited in perfect time making sure one couldn't tap their toes for too long. As soon as you adjust to that it abruptly changes to strange drones and even stranger human voices, occasionally becoming frightening, ultimately ending in layered drones and choppy synthesizers to an almost zen effect..
Arma Agharta's Old River is a fresh look at a vintage style.
**** 4 Asterisks.
Note, one reason I gladly listened to this tape (twice) was that although sometimes the recording has some harder sounds, due to the cassette format and the normal bias tape used they don't seem too abrasive. There is something to be said for tape and it's effect on the listenability of music. I may also have enjoyed this as an LP for similar reasons. If it were on CD i may not have gotten as much out of it.
just a thought. *=)