Artist: Nikolas Skordas

Date of Release: 25/01/2019

Catalogue no: SLAMCD594

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.50

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Track Listing









Nikolas Skordas soprano sax, tarogato, traditional flutes.
Alexandros Aivaliotis shakuhachi, hocchicu.
With guest Sophia Koroxenou, voice track 12.

This second SLAM CD by Nikolas Skordas (see SLAMCD 582 Ships and Shepherds with
Alex Maguire) features him with fellow original improviser Alexandros Aivaliotis in the duo “ON 音 Duet”, creating an intriguing and beautiful combination of textures and voices from a mixture of international cultures.

Nikolas and Alexandros write:
“The musical interaction between the mellow, inner, simple sound of the Japanese vertical flute, the shakuhachi, and the sharp, but also sweet sound of the soprano saxophone, the most wildcat of the sax family, creates an untold journey to unconventional places and times of the human experience.
Regarding the name of the duet, we underline the multidimensional meaning of the word "on", (Greek: sentient being), the human entity, the concept of "is-be", inside us. The same phonetic sequence "on", in Japanese stands for "sound" (Jap: 音), as the original form of the frequency creation through air. The above ideogram consists of two others, meaning "stand up" and "sun", as "the rising of the light".
Those two denotations present the concept of sound as something vivid, fresh and authentic, beyond the boundaries of common knowledge and views about music.
East and west, together present a new musical proposal through a rare duet!
On the one hand, we have the soprano sax, an instrument capable to produce different voices, hard to play, weird and inexplicably indomitable but beautiful, a tool that requires full commitment and patience.
On the other hand, the old meditation tool of ancient Japan, a root end bamboo made flute with only five holes, one of the hardest traditional flutes to master, vibrates the atmosphere in a unique way, imitating even the human voice and producing sounds from the depth of the human existence. Listen!”




01/06/2019 Ken Cheetham

The tarogato is a single reed woodwind instrument believed to originate in Turkey and often associated with Hungary and Romania. It looks something like a clarinet. The hocchicu is a bamboo pipe with four holes along the front, one at the back for the opposing thumb. Generally used for Zen meditation because of its ‘raw’ construction, it requires a high level of technical skill. The shakuhachi is very similar and both these latter instruments have roots in Japan. They are thought of as flutes (no reed) but are end blown.

The combination of such unusual instruments (I include the soprano in this) introduces to us a very singular, special kind of music that has grown out of dissimilar musical legacies and wants to inhabit this world exploring its own life. It does not want to be seen as a copy of somebody else’s ethnological heritage, to be ‘folk music’: it is much deeper than that.

It seems that as each track ends it leaves behind an enchanted aether through which there is a flux, quietly moving, of an unfathomable interchange of semiotic signals through which the musicians flag their musical intentions. Finally and a little bizarrely, Sophia’s voice is added to the mix which changes it and I’m left hoping for more.

This is a thoroughly mysterious and charming album, one which you may find impossible to categorize – so just listen to it instead.

Reviewed by Ken Cheetham http://www.jazzviews.net/nikolas-skordas--alexandros-aivaliotis---facing-infinity.html?fbclid=IwAR072P4cArpDGhk-ATez2yHm1bSrDrRuGzs7V8j1tY5xYBi7L3clh2DAonc


08/02/2019 Vittorio Lo Conte

Il sassofonista greco Nikolas Skordas è al secondo album per la Slam Productions, molto speciale per quanto riguarda la strumentazione. Insieme a Alexandros Aivaliotis allo shakuhachi, il flauto verticale giapponese, hanno formato il duo ON, parola che in giapponese e greco significa rispettivamente “suono” e “essere sensibile”. È una musica ovviamente molto speciale per l’incontro di strumenti che appartengono a tradizioni diverse, Skordas suona il sax soprano, il tarogato (uno strumento a fiato della tradizione ungherese che simile esteticamente ad un sax soprano), dei flauti tradizionali e delle percussioni. Nel brano finale Farewell fa la sua apparizione la cantante Sophia Koroxenou. È difficile classificare questa musica, che sfugge ad ogni definizione, che usa i suoni della world ma non vuole imitare nessuna musica folklorica. Tutto scorre tranquillo, con le note che occupano lo spazio ed evocano atmosfere magiche. Da un brano all’altro cambiano i suoni, grazie anche al polistrumentismo di Skordas, ma si mantiene l’unità delle atmosfere e la profonda comunicazione musicale tra i due. La voce della Koroxenou, che si ispira al canto bizantino, porta nuovi accenti e accende la musica di accenti mistici. Un’idea riuscita che mette insieme tradizioni diverse in un progetto che funziona.
Vittorio Lo Conte http://www.musiczoom.it/?p=30241#.XGXNxPn7Tct
Greek saxophonist Nikolas Skordas is on the second album for Slam Productions, very special as regards the instrumentation. Together with Alexandros Aivaliotis at shakuhachi, the Japanese vertical flute, they formed the ON duo, a word that in Japanese and Greek means "sound" and "be sensitive" respectively. It is obviously a very special music for the meeting of instruments that belong to different traditions, Skordas plays the soprano saxophone, the tarogato (a wind instrument of the Hungarian tradition that looks similar to a soprano saxophone), traditional flutes and percussions. In the final song Farewell makes the singer Sophia Koroxenou appear. It is difficult to classify this music, which escapes any definition, which uses the sounds of the world but does not want to imitate any folk music. Everything flows quietly, with the notes that occupy the space and evoke magical atmospheres. From one song to the next the sounds change, thanks also to Skordas' multi-instrumentalism, but the unity of the atmospheres and the deep musical communication between the two are maintained. The voice of the Koroxenou, inspired by the Byzantine chant, brings new accents and ignites the music of mystical accents. A successful idea that brings together different traditions in a working project.


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