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Yannis Kyriakides and Andy Moor - Red V. Green

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Artist: Yannis Kyriakides and Andy Moor

Album: Red V. Green

Label: Unsound

Review date: May. 3, 2004

Cypriot Yannis Kyriakides and Scotsman Andy Moor come from different necks of the woods, culturally and musically. The former is an up-and-coming new music composer and a live electronics performer; the latter, a punk rock vet who has played with the Ex, Dog Faced Hermans, and Kletka Red. But they live in the same city, Amsterdam, and they've definitely found some common musical ground on this CD.

Its fifteen tracks were culled from three improvising sessions recorded last year. I can't tell you how much the music is shaped by editing, although it wouldn't surprise me if there were a lot of it; these tracks have a clarity that's hard to sustain in the moment. Nor can I can tell you exactly what electronics Kyriakides plays.(Parenthetically, is there any more sphinx-like instrumental credit? Nowadays electronics can mean anything from broken clock radios to high-end computers). But he clearly eschews captured sounds and 'sounds-like' sounds in favor of purely electronic clicks, buzzes, hums, and squiggles.

Moor, like usual, plays electric guitar, and from the first strike of pick against string, there's no mistaking him. He's amongst the few people on earth who can not only make a guitar sound like it's strung with highly charged telephone cables, but also make that sound right. Kyriakides, unlike so many citizens of the laptop nation, isn't afraid to indulge in steady rhythms and stable structures; he seems to like a strong frame to hold his improvisations. Moor responds with a more pulse-oriented approach than you'll hear on Thermal, his recent improv trio with Thomas Lehn and John Butcher, or the various free-form adventures he's pursued with the Ex.

Indeed, a track like "Snow" has a song-like quality that would make it sound right at home on a Sonic Youth record. First the sequenced blips rock the cradle, and then bent-metal guitar twangs pick up the beat while the blips dart and dance. The following track, "Time Files," reveals both players' awareness of the idiomatic gestures found in supposedly non-idiomatic improv; the scrapes and knocks, the jittery refusal to pursue the obvious conclusion, and especially Moor's leaps from harmonic to harmonic in the middle of the performance, which bring to mind Derek Bailey's affection for similar devices.

Moor does abandon his guitar once, on "In Dreams I Talk To You," where he wields a shortwave radio. First Kyriakides establishes a nocturnal aura with swaying beeps and insectoid crackles. Then some radio static pushes into this young sound world like a reptile nosing through primordial swamp grass. Gradually, Moor adds voices and snatches of music to his partner's increasingly steel-bristled setting.

What's consistent throughout is the two players' empathy; whether they pursue continuous flow or jagged discontinuity, Kyriakides and Moor complement each others' moves with a fluency that belies the fact that Red V Green is their first record together. Here's hoping it isn't their last.

By Bill Meyer

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