40:43. MECHA / ORGA -Yiorgis Sakellariou-
(OtO 2013)

Review by Maria Papadomanolaki

Four untitled tracks, stripped down to their bare essential: time. The beautifully packaged edition comes with abstract black and white images by 0t0 label’s owner Takanobu Hoshino. While reading a recent self-reflective text that Yiorgis Sakelariou wrote for an online Greek resource, I stumbled upon his concept of the symbiosis/balance between the sound of the Mechanical and the Organic. This is the root-territory for his Mecha/Orga outlet; a field that has no particular references to the visual or the symbolic. It is up to the listener to bridge all the gaps in a condition of alert, curiosity and creativity, as he stated in another interview for The importance of a meticulous yet raw in its substance approach remains a consistent prerequisite in Yiorgis’s 10 year trajectory in the exploration of sound.  40:43 is another faithful rendition of such a query. Recorded between August 2012 and January 2013 in various locations in London and Athens, the album begins to unfold through an odd marriage of distant airplane traffic, bonfire impressions and mechanical nigh time insects swarming inside a rising lava of burning noise (Track 1). The structuring of time and most importantly the interchange of dynamics, the abrupt change from loud to quiet is a recurring theme in 40:43 and it expresses itself through the unravelling of familiar yet unidentifiable sonic textures and timbres.

I listen to Track 2 on the album and I find myself contemplating on the element of air and how it moves in and out of atmospheres, how it is being transformed from a background breeze to a rumbling, to a vent. I challenge myself to decipher all these that sound possible to my ears, that have a meaning and an essence. Air then is transposed in track 3 to the pumping heart of a machine, setting its arteries in motion, flooding, self-expanding to the ears of the listener, cryptic and alerting, devastating. The valves are exhaling mid-way to abruptly give way to reconciliation with a more silent, understated motion. Air is still there, bringing to life the presence of sonic windowpanes and darkened views beyond the tactile and the visual. It now has rendered itself into a whisper, a breeze again, a mercurial palindrome of sorts. Yiorgi’s understanding of progression and structure is attuned to a subtle taste for the dramatic. It echoes a certain degree of mystery and exposes the listener to a world that flickers between the intangible and the deeply stochastic. Track 4 plays with the omnipresence of the mechanical inside a fluid stage of echoing disturbances. Falling pipes are set against a troglodyte drumming tuning the listener’s ear in synch. This agitated hermetic universe is swallowed by the dead air of silence.

Regardless of what I may write in this review, there is not one listening position in 40:43. I am not aiming to point towards external references, quotes or philosophies in support of this assumption. I choose to follow Yiorgi’s paradigm and leave it self-referential, sincerely ingrained within its own limitations, organic, mechanically moved by a stream of words meticulously picked yet perhaps at times inaccessible and with varying levels of intensity or simplicity; a balancing act between the barrier posed by the concreteness of the sounds and the intimacy of the listening ear with all its loopholes, memories and associative mechanisms, open and obscured.


[Yiorgis Sakellariou]

OtO website
Yiorgis Sakellariou website

Maria Papadomanolaki

Sound artist, researcher, writer.