Find it at hhv.de: Vinyl LP Dub is not a genre, Dub is a method. Dub is not a style that is adapted and developed further, but a virus that spreads from Jamaica to other parts of the world and their music, changing it deep into their RNA. Also in Greece, from where Dimitris Papadatos, under the pseudonym Jay Glass Dubs, has made dub virulent in new ways in reliable intervals on two albums per year. Undercooled dancehall, timestretched ragga samples, crushed Laïko recordings, a collaboration with Leslie Winer or a homage to Spacemen 3 in love-inc. mode: Where Jay Glass Dubs is written on the outside, there is usually a tangible surprise inside.
This is also true for »Soma«, his second release for the label Berceuse Heroique. Even the opening track sounds as if William Basinski and King Tubby had put an R’n’B number through the wringer, and accordingly, it continues over a full fourteen tracks through the idiosyncratic visions of a dub-infected person, who sometimes stumbles into stubborn electro, sometimes longing trip hop with breathy vocals, frosty minimal wave or fidgety jungle retro, futuristic or retro-futuristic sounds, as if this were a matter of course.
After all, “soma” in Greek means »body« and it is to him that Jay Glass Dubs’ music has been directed since his first tape releases on Hylé and Bokeh Versions, but rarely has it been as direct and urgent as in this music. He is infected with Dub, tempted to swing and sympathize, in between he is taken through the wringer and in the end he is put to bed with shimmering ambient sounds: Resting, sweating out the virus and getting ready for the next adventure trip through the dub worlds of Papadotos. And in the meantime he explains to us what music from his homeland Greece has shaped and formed him.
1 – Lena Platonos & Savinna Yiannatou – Kariotakis / 13 Songs (Lyra) (1982)
Jay Glass Dubs: Now that the language barriers that separated Platonos’ seminal work from the broader audience seem to have almost vanished, it would make sense that this absolutely sublime album, one of her most famous ones, should also resurface. Recorded by her favorite producer Panos Drakos, who also produced all her electronic albums, this fragile masterpiece, austerely orchestrated with the use of strictly natural instrumentation, conceptually adjacent to the electronic stepa of Platonos’ distinctive impressionistic electronic works, has always been my favorite of hers, a record that my mom used to play a lot when we were growing up. Kariotakis’ lyrics, a masterpiece on their own account, a beautiful bouquet of despair, dark humor, bitterness and metaphysics only adds to this album’s ability to offer a riveting experience.
2 – Metro Decay – Ypervasi (Creep Recods) (1984)
Jay Glass Dubs: Growing up in Athens in the 90s meant that you would either hang out with the goths, the hip hop kids, the ravers, the punks or the metalheads. There was no osmosis of any kind and there would definitely be fights between each respective group. I was never part of any of those communities, I always found fascinating things in every musical genre but in a way always heavier towards the post punk, new wave , dark wave scene. Metro Decay were formed in 1981 in the central Athens, a period that back then seemed as a glorious time for Greece, but history proved a cornerstone for the beginning of corruption and political debauchery. Their music and lyrics dark and bleak, in absolute accord to the new wave / dark wave scene that was evolving around Europe at the time, is one of the finest examples that the genre has to provide and are an absolute mirroring of the situation in Greece at the time they were active, filtered through their own personal pessimistic approach. A truly claustrophobic but absolutely captivating record.
3 – ΑΝΤΙ… – Musica Antidota (εἰρκτή) (2014)
Jay Glass Dubs: Initially released in 1990 as a split LP with the band Koinonika Apovlita, ANTI…’s »Musica Antidota« (Musical Antidotes) is to me one of the most important punk records ever recorded in Greece. The trio’s unorthodox instrumentation, one bassist that wrote all lyrics and music, two amazingly fast keyboard players with one of them being the singer and a drum machine, ANTI…’s sonic universe was in total synch with what was happening in Bay Area with The Screamers and Nervous Gender without having an apparent way to have knowledge of what was happening an ocean away. With lyrics that spoke of educational reform, family as a forerunner of social oppression and manifestos inspiring revolt, ANTI…’s seminal work constitutes what punk was, is and always be. Rage, speed and civil disobedience.
4 – Dimos Moutsis – Aghios Fevrouarios (Universal) (1972)
Jay Glass Dubs: One of the first concept albums ever conceived in Greece, drawing its thematics from 1918’s traumatic population exchange after the Balkan Wars which resulted to a huge wave of forced immigration to and from Turkey and Greece, this 1972 album is connected to my childhood years as no other as it was a staple on my dad’s stereo and still to this day is a great example of bold songmanship and instrumentation. The blending of traditional and Laiko music with what was happening to european rock music (some call it prog, some call it kraut :P ) is very apparent in this record. Dimos Moutsis’ orchestration, using bouzouki, synthesizers, fuzzy guitars and traditional instruments remains till now one of the most courageous attempts to re-approach popular songwriting using very unpopular methods.
5 – Litsa Sakellariou – 12 Vradya (Minos EMI) (1969)
Jay Glass Dubs: It would be very difficult to describe what exactly is going on in this 1969 record, one of the best examples of greek exotica to date ( the best in my opinion). Oozing with bossa, folk, jazz and traditional elements, 12 Vradya ( 12 Nights ) is one of those records that is impossible to categorize. Instead of a review I will do a loose translation of what the record’s producer wrote on the liner notes. »All this ‘movement’ is called avant-garde with a serious section of simple lyrics and melody. We can not find a stereotypical description of this new ‘something’.(It is created) When we put aside our usual musical contexts and break away from all the tradition of our soft music to give birth to a new style.« All this might sound slightly complex, but for what is worth this term is something that definitely can describe a record that covers so many territories.
6 – Hristodoulos Halaris – Pathi Apokryfa (Minos EMI) (1986)
Jay Glass Dubs: Inspired by the scriptures of the Obscure Gospels that speak of Jesus’ years that are not covered by the twelve official apostolic gospels, this masterpiece by one of the most important Greek composers and researchers of Greek traditional and Byzantine music, Christodoulos Chalaris, stands out for the Avant Garde approach of a rather conservative concept. Chalaris makes use of a Byzantine chorus, combined with an ancient greek and Byzantine instrumentation and uses the monolithic voice of Chrysanthos,, probably the most important singer from Pontus, the southern side of the Black Sea, to present a marvelous work of art, that would shy off bands like The Swans any time. I might sound bold, but definitely not as bold as this amazing record.Personal favorite: »Anthropos Stin Poli«
7 – Mikis Theodorakis – Axion Esti (Pläne) (1983) Jay Glass Dubs:
Jay Glass Dubs: You can say what you want about Mikis Theodorakis, one of the most famous Greek composers in the world but this record is, to me,globally, one of the most successful examples of how poetry and music can be harmonically combined into something that constitutes a new kind of songwriting. Atonal elements, rembetiko, choral parts, spoken word, Thodorakis’ signature chordal and rhythmical progressions and most of all, the sublime language of Odysseas’ Elytis poetry compose a truly Avant Garde amalgam of unrepeated quality and beauty, that should be case study in the syllabus of every music academy in the world, or even better, taking into consideration the deeply humanitarian messages of the poems themselves, in every school around the globe. Simply paramount.
8 – Aphrodite’s Child – 666 (Vertigo) (1972) | Vinyl 2LP
Jay Glass Dubs: Not much to say for one of the most important rock records ever recorded, up there with Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and Masters Of Reality. If the name Vangelis is not enough, I can give you a fun trivia as told by the record’s lyricist and famous Greek director Costas Ferris. Read more here. If that is not enough, just listen to the record and be flabbergasted by the overload of musical innovations it has given birth to since it was conceived.
9 – Iannis Xenakis – Metastasis / Pithoprakta / Eonta (Le Chant Du Monde) (1966)
Jay Glass Dubs: What can a lesser man like me say about the undisputed splendor of Xenakis’ work? I would come short of words even if I use all οf the adjectives that could describe a sonic experience as the one that this record encloses.
His sense of sound as an architectural structure, the prophetic instrumentation he is utilising, his constant dialogue with time and space as sonic elements combined with his political and aesthetic stance , formed a universal language that can not and will not be repeated ever again but is there for the taking, for generations to come.
10 – Jani Christou – Enantiodromia / Praxis / Epicycle / Anaparastasis III / Mysterion Prolog / Mysterion Sprechertext (Edition RZ) (1992) | Vinyl LP
Jay Glass Dubs: Same here for one of the very few mysts in contemporary music. The metaphysical experience of Jani Christou’s work is definitely one that can not be repeated in centuries to come. I chose these recordings of his fifth and sixth period as I believe it is when his concepts had cemented into a solid piece of work, incorporating performance, unorthodox scoring and the sublimation of myth to create a new exciting and captivating sonic language.