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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Sea and Air - Evropi

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 23 / 10 / 2015

Sea and Air - Evropi
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD


Eclectic but instantly accessible album from Greek/German husband and wife duo Sea and Air

The duo of Sea + Air (Eleni Zafiriadou and Daniel Benjamin) describe their music as ‘ghost pop’ (whatever that means) but trying to pigeon-hole their experimental and unique brand of music into any given known genre is pretty impossible so maybe we’ll stick with that definition for a while. The Greek/German duo have played shows across twenty-two countries in the last three years, not only in Europe but in the USA and Canada as well and it appears that, certainly during their time visiting different cities in Europe, they have collated sounds from each place and created their own musical vision from the music and cultures they have experienced. Eleni and Daniel wrote, arranged and played on all the songs on ‘Evropi’. The duo also co-produced the album with Tim Burzon and Andreas Stickel. Apart from some bass, strings and trombone most of the other instruments were played by the duo, including traditional Greek instruments such as lyra and bouzouki and it’s the choice of unusual instruments, the haunting quality of their vocals (especially Eleni’s contributions in this area) and the duo’s ability to convey many different European cultures into their music that makes the finished result so compelling and evocative. ‘We All Have to Leave Someday’ opens the twelve-track album, building slowly from gusting wind accompanied by ghostly wordless vocals for almost a minute before any musical sounds materialise which are then eventually joined by Daniel’s melancholy vocals. As more layers of sound are added and Eleni takes lead vocals, the song becomes even more ethereal, the strings and other unidentifiable instrumentation really creating music that is at once beautiful, meaningful yet chilling. The sense of loss, of leaving, is apparent even during the instrumental sections. It’s a brilliant and most affective way to open the album. ‘Follow Me Me Me‘, which is the second track, is a more conventional sound, if such a word can be used in describing the music this duo create; after the six-minute opener in which Eleni and Daniel allow themselves the space to develop their sound this shorter (two and a half minute) electro-pop song may well be the best bet to attract listeners to the eclectic musical vision that this pair share but it really doesn’t come anywhere near to the innovative sound of that opening cut. ‘Should I Care’, which follows, is again less experimental than ‘We All Have to Leave Someday’, but is absolutely gorgeous. Although a feeling of loss again prevails throughout the track, the structure of the song, the heavenly harmonies, the choir of angels cooing in the background and a pretty and addictive melody make this song a highlight on the album. The airiness given to the vocals is particularly affecting. The angular ‘Mercy Looks Good On You’ is Euro-pop with substance; another radio-friendly cut which is saved from being just another slice of well-crafted 80's pop by Eleni’s vocal contribution. While Daniel’s lead vocal parts are perfectly delivered if it wasn’t for the female vocals, this had every chance of being an 80’s inspired song that should have stayed there. This only goes to give the following ‘Peace Begins At Home’ even more credence. A brooding vocal performance from the duo at odds with some unusual instrumentation make for an innovative cut, and proof that, despite a few lapses scattered throughout the album, ‘Evropi’ is an album that breaks plenty of new ground. It’s unlikely that you’ve heard anything quite like ‘Flowers from the Distance’ before. Shorn of any of their pop leanings, this two-minute collage of sound on which Eleni takes lead vocals is, simply, one of the most chilling contemporary songs you’ll hear. For an album that takes in so many influences while never pushing one single inspiration to the fore ‘Evropi’ works extremely well. That a song as beautiful as ‘We Understand You’ is tucked away near the end of an album by a not so well known European duo (as yet) is almost a crime. It’s a beautiful piece of music, perfectly performed and which deserves daytime radio play. The closing ‘You Are’ carries on in the same style, perfectly executed pop music that encompasses so many emotions just by the ambiance the sound creates. There are so many ideas spread over these dozen songs it’s to their credit that Eleni and Daniel have created, for the most part, a cohesive set of beautiful songs expertly performed and produced from their vision. And to say that the last couple of minutes of that final song are two of the most heart-breaking minutes of music that have been released this year is no understatement.

Track Listing:-
1 We All Have to Leave Someday
2 Follow Me Me Me
3 Should I Care
4 Mercy Looks Good on You
5 Peace Begins at Home
6 Misery
7 Flowers from the Distance
8 Pain Is Just a Cloud
9 Lady Evropi
10 Hahahahaha
11 We Understand You
12 You Are

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Interview (2015)
Sea and Air - Interview
Malcolm Carter talks to Eleni Zafiriadou and Daniel Benjamin from Greek/German duo Sea and Air about their haunting new album 'Evropi' which tells of a homeless family travelling through Europe

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