Sigmatropic: Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories [international]
REVIEWS FROM THE WORLD
Bucketful of Brains
Comes with a smile
Mix Northern Jersey
New Times (Miami, Phoenix)
Plan 9 Music
Tiny Mix Tapes
Times /St Petersburg/
Uncut (on Carla Torgerson’s Saint Stranger)
Urgentculture/ Jaime Ohlsson
Dominio dos deuses
Sixteen Haiku and Other
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories
Jan 20, 2004
by Johnny Loftus
On Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories, a slate of international guests help Akis Boyatzis and
Sigmatropic recast their original, Greek-language interpretations of George Seferis' poetry into
English, in the process bringing the Nobel laureate's evocative work to their own varied audiences.
The recording's guest list is rather impressive, from an indie standpoint at least. Shoving off with no
less an eccentric talent than the inimitable Robert Wyatt, Sixteen Haiku drifts soundtrack-like
through 22 unnamed pieces ("Haiku Five," "Haiku Six," etc.) According to Boyatzis' liner notes, the
guests involved recorded their respective vocal interpretations over Sigmatropic's existing tracks; the
resulting musical threads tie together what might otherwise be a mess of tangled voices. The album
percolates with electronic programming, and the grooves of what might be labeled indie electronica.
Processed bits of guitar build subtle melodies over thick bass, wildly varied drum loops, faraway
snatches, traditional instrumentation, and assorted blips of human laughter and muttering.
Ultimately, however, Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories is about words and voices. Wyatt, Laetitia
Sadier, Alejandro Escovedo, and Edith Frost dress their performances in personal nuance, but never
outpace the poetry itself. (The artfully simplistic couplets are included in the accompanying booklet,
along with a brief Seferis bio.) "I am raising now/A dead butterfly/With no make-up," Cat Power sings
in "Haiku 10." It's brief at just over a minute. But the track's atmospheric buzz is sold by Chan
Marshall's particular phrasing. This holds true throughout the album. Despite all the distinct
personalities and their clever interpretations, no one piece ever really stands out. Instead, they each
pour a spoonful of sparkling crystals into Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories' rejuvenating mineral
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories [international] – reviews - ENGL -
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting concept & astonishing results, October 23, 2003
Reviewer: Henry Stiles from Glasgow,Scotland
To be honest I found this a very intriguing listening proposition from every angle. What is immediately fascinating with
this album is not only the very interesting and diverse artist line up. It is the fact that these artists are singing on a sprawl
of music that is quite alien to their customary musical craft of choice! Like a family of cool cult artists, from far flung
places gathered on a Odyssey style musical adventure. The music is hard to describe but it is a beautiful & ethereal
textured electronic soundscape with a soundtrack feel to it. It is not a World Music affair but more of a mystical &
moody electronica affair with some Mediterranean elements to it. The Haiku style poetry is outstanding, but what would
you expect from a Nobel prize winner like George Seferis? From the 18 artists singing on this album it would be unfair
to single out a favourite track as all voices blend in well. SIGMATROPIC are an actual band & I still find it remarkable
how they managed to get all these artists to guest on their music. In a way it is NOT a compilation or a tribute album &
NOT a spoken word but a musical trip that invites some diverse & outstanding cult voices of our time to each sing their
favoured or chosen Haiku poem. It could be an acquired taste, but I believe they have dished out a very brave concept
that overall works well. The a hour long album has plenty of twists & turns to keep me happy & any true music fan
might not agree with this music 100pct but without doubt they would be able to pick up some true gems here. Either you
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories [international] – reviews - ENGL -
like Cat Power, Howe Gelb, Robert Wyatt or Mark Eitzel, this album deserves some dedicated moments. If the
electronica + Greek poetry aspect of it is a stumbling block for you, then its your loss: you are missing out on a well
labored & exquisite piece of music.
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories [international] – reviews - ENGL -
SIXTEEN HAIKU & OTHER STORIES — Sigmatropic
Artsy and engrossing
The artiness of the project may discourage many away from it.
But for those with patience, for those with a little time to digest it, Sigmatropic’s Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories is a
rewarding, engrossing collection of songs.
This is actually the international version of a project originally released in the band’s homeland of Greece, which uses the
words of that country’s late Nobel Prize-winning poet George Seferis in song.
Helping make the jump from national to international is a peerless collection of vocalists, including Mark Eitzel, Robert
Wyatt, Howe Gelb, Steve Wynn, Alejandro Escovedo, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) and Cat
The 22 short, organically ambient tracks created by Sigmatropic’s Akis Boyatzi emotionally bleed into one another to
create a landscape that is, at first, somewhat stark and standoffish, but soon swallows you inside its warmth, coddling
you, coaxing you on.
Seferis’ poems — predominantly haiku, as the title implies — live inside the landscape, naturally, comfortably, like
characters born of their surroundings.
It’s a haunting listen, one you’ll be glad you made the time for.
• 1. Introduction - (featuring Robert Wyatt)
• 2. Haiku One - (featuring Laetitia Sadier)
• 3. Haiku Two - (featuring Martine Roberts)
• 4. Haiku Three - (featuring Mark Muleahy, In The Museume Garden)
• 5. Haiku Four - (featuring Alejandro Escovedo)
• 6. Haiku Five - (featuring Carla Torgerson)
• 7. Haiku Six - (featuring Carla Torgerson/Ahis Boyatzis)
• 8. Haiku Seven - (featuring Akis Boyatzis)
• 9. Haiku Eight - (featuring Edith Eitzel)
• 10. Haiku Nine - (featuring Mark Eitzel)
• 11. Haiku Ten - (featuring Cat Power)
• 12. Haiku Eleven - (featuring Simon Joyner)
• 13. Haiku Twelve - (featuring Lee Ranaldo, Unprofitable Boat Line)
• 14. Haiku Thirteen - (featuring Alex Gordon)
• 15. Haiku Fourteen (a)(Sung In Greek) - (featuring Akis Boyatzis)
• 16. Haiku (b) - (featuring John Grant)
• 17. Haiku Fifteen - (featuring James William Hindle)
• 18. Haiku Sixteen - (featuring Lee Ranaldo)
• 19. Dead Sea, The - (featuring James Sclavunos, Logbook II)
• 20. Water Warm - (featuring Pintcie Maclure, Sketches For A Summer)
• 21. This Human Body - (featuring Howe Gelb)
• 22. Jasmines, The - (featuring Steve Wynn)
Sun rating (out of 5 stars)
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories [international] – reviews - ENGL -
[ www.chartattack.com ]
Your Canadian Music Source
Cat Power And Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier Do Haiku
Wednesday October 22, 2003 @ 03:30 PM
By: ChartAttack.com Staff
Most of us are familiar with those Japanese poems that contain a structure of 17 syllables and are often used to express
elements of nature like colour, the seasons, contrasts and surprises. If we were to write something like "White
leaves/Floating with the road/The night is over," you would know what we’re talking about, right?
Well, if you missed that day in tenth grade English class, the contemplative poetry form known as Haiku has been given a
cool new twist by some big names in the indie music circuit.
Cat Power (a.k.a. Chan Marshall), Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Eitzel, Sonic Youth’s Lee
Ranaldo, Steve Wynn and Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb (plus many more) have all loaned their dreamy vocals to an album
called 16 Haiku & Other Stories, which comes out January 20 via Thirsty Ear Records.
The album features 21 tracks of seasonal goodies written by the winner of the 1963 Nobel Peace Prize for Literature,
George Seferis. The musical backdrop of the album is provided by Sigmatropic’s Akis Boyatzis.
If Sigmatropic sounds all Greek to you, it’s probably because the band actually is Greek and hails from that land known
for mythological creatures and of course, souvlaki. Ummm… souvlaki. They’ve already recorded and released this same
album in their native tongue of Greek, but later translated the poems into English so that these indie darlings could sing
After listening to Cat Power’s "Haiku Ten," on Sigmatropic’s website, the result isn’t as corny as it sounds. Although it
does sound like she’s singing in a different language at times, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from Chan Marshall.
A limited-edition 12-inch vinyl EP of the project will also be released later this year and will feature alternate takes not
found on the original disc.
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories [international] – reviews - ENGL -
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories
Of related interest:
Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and William Burroughs’ Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales
Having success in Greece setting Nobel Laureate George Seferis’ poetry to music, Greek electronic outfit
Sigmatropic have collaborated with a bevy of artists for an American version of the same. Having translated
Seferis’ work into English for the majority of the album, Akis Boyatzis (the principle member of Sigmatropic)
assembled a cast of notable singers to lend their voices, including Mark Mulcahey, Edith Frost, Lee Renaldo,
Howe Gelb and Steve Wynn.
With 16 of the album’s 22 tracks haiku, the album is an interesting mix of intricate instrumentation and
minimalist lyrics. Most are generally structured as pop songs and, given the syllabic requirements of the form
(and the difficulties translation often produces), the match would seem an awkward one. Still the artists here
make it work, most notably Cat Power and James William Hindle, even if their contributions seem truncated.
Sigmatropic wraps the few words given them in a lush mix of sounds that offsets the gaps only there for
expectations most listeners schooled on Western pop bring. In fact, after listening to the 16 haiku, the album’s
remaining six tracks seem cluttered with words by comparison. —Stephen Slaybaugh
January 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Columbus Alive, Inc. All rights reserved.
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories [international] – reviews - ENGL -
Comes with A Smile (UK)
Sigmatropic | Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories
OK, first the facts: this is an album derived
from the haiku poetry of Nobel laureate George
Seferis, with music by Akis Boyatzis who, with a
band of like-minded fellow Greek musicians, calls
himself Sigmatropic. A Greek language version of
this album was released in 2002, but Boyatzis has
now created an international version utilising
the same music, but with the poems translated
into English and now featuring an impressive
array of guest vocalists, with some very familiar
names amongst them. So, that's a Greek take on
traditional Japanese poetry, set to Greek
electronica, and sung by Brits and Yanks. Some
The disc opens with some church bells, some big
drums, some very Craig Armstrong film-soundtrack
music, and Robert Wyatt doing his fragile
non-singing thing. So far, so moody. Following
tracks are gentler and with acoustic elements
sweetening the sound - Haiku 1 sung by Laetitia
Sadier (Stereolab), and Haiku 2, sung by Martine
Roberts (Broken Dog), instill a Cocteau Twins
feel, before the ever-expressive Mark Mulcahy
does a bit of a Sylvian thing on Haiku 3. The
variety and brevity of the tracks (an inevitable
shortcoming of the haiku form) ensures a strong
'soundtrack' feel to the whole thing, but there's
a unifying, almost dramatic, element in the
rhythms and the different voices singing and
speaking the short, oft-repeated lines. Things
shuffle and throb along nicely, with
contributions from the stellar cast that includes
the likes of Mark Eitzel, Howe Gelb, Alejandro
Escovedo, Cat Power, Steve Wynn and James William
Hindle. All find themselves in unfamiliar
territory here, a world away from their
traditional musical environs. And this is where
the album's appeal is found, in this curious
melding of tradition and form. Populated across
its twenty-two tracks with alumni of the lo-fi
school (including Simon Joyner and Lee Ranaldo),
it's only artists with a naturally dramatic
voice, such as John Grant (The Czars) or James
Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds, The Vanity Set), or the
seductive tones of Pinkie Maclure, Edith Frost or
Carla Torgerson (The Walkabouts) who really seem
at home here.
You'll catch many flavours - from Tom Waits to
New Order - but it's the Greek and the strange
that percolates up through the lyrics. Blue
skies, bees, clear seas, heavy breasts in
mirrors, jasmine, goddesses, and statues all
feature, with the elements and nature the
'Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories' demonstrates the
success of eclecticism, of mixing digital sounds
and beats with some of the most organic singers
you could wish for, with various stringed
instruments counteracting the potentially new-age
vibe. It all makes for a dramatically unique
By MARK WILSON, Courier & Press staff writer
January 23, 2004
Sigmatropic - "Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories" (Thirsty Ear)
The bad poetry so many musicians pass off for lyrics in the name of art is one of the most unfortunate
crimes perpetrated on music listeners in the wake of popular culture's flowering in the 1960s and 1970s.
Thank psychedelia and progressive rock for that.
It's an unfortunate legacy because poetry and music are two sides of the same coin. Words and sound
can work together to the same end, but it's a concept more often than not lost to mainstream popular
music, apart from the occasional surfacing of bands or performers such as R.E.M. or forward-thinking
R&B/hip-hop musicians such as Wyclef Jean and Outkast.
So it is into this void that the currents of world culture carry Sigma-tropic's unique, entrancing and utterly
convincing setting of Greek Nobel laureate George Seferis' poetry to music. At the heart of Sigmatropic is
multi-instrumentalist and producer Akis Boyatzis, augmented here by a rotating cast of Greek musicians
and sung by a respected all-star cast of indie-rockers and musicians that includes Cat Power, Lee Ranaldo
of Sonic Youth, Mark Eitzel, Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab, Robert Wyatt, Steve Wynn and Alejandro
The music blends live instrumentation and studio effects into a diverse collection of moody,
unconventional songs that glide effortlessly through folk, rock and ambient styles. Unlike so many
overzealous attempts to meld poetry and pop, the mood of the music really does complement the lyrical
content here, each vocal performance beautifully integrated into the music.
by Carmina Ocampo | 10.27.2003 w w w . f i l t e r - m a g . c o m
Proving that they can be even more "out there" than usual, spacey avant-gardists like Cat Power, Stereolab's
Laetitia Sadier and Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo are putting their experimental pedals to the metal. The innovative
indie rockers are among several performers--including Alejandro Escovedo,Mark Eitzel,Steve Wynn and Giant
Sand's Howe Gelb--contributing vocals to 16 Haiku & Other Stories, to be released Jan. 20 on Thirsty Ear. The
artists involved show that they're the sort only bookworms with their head in the clouds (no shame) could love. And
they're the sort of musicians that have no qualms about provoking haters of experimental rock into saying, "What in
the shit is that?"
The compilation will include 21 tracks that highlight the work of distinguished Greek poet George Seferis, who won the
Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963. The laureate's poetry is recurrant with themes of exile and nostalgia, much like
Ranaldo's, Eitzel's and Marshall's vocals, which evoke reclusive sentiments, and are really good to sigh to. The singing
on the album will be set to music by Akis Boyatzis, lead singer of the Greek band Sigmatropic. Boyatzis was one of
the founders of the indie-rock band Hum in the late '80s, but turned in his beloved rock 'n' roll for airy Mediterranean
electronica (what the shit is that?). With their powers combined, Sefaris and Boyatzis demonstrate that it is, indeed,
chic to be Greek.
16 Haiku & Other Stories was originally recorded and released in Greece by Sigmatropic in 2002. Once Sefaris' poems
were translated into English, the album was re-recorded with the verses sung by the 18 guest vocalists. Snooty fans
(typically accustomed to whining whilst wining) of the artsty fartsy indie rock performers will have to re-adjust their
boozing preferences just a tad and pick up some ouzo while listening to this unusual comp.
God, that's so arty. And pretentious. And we can't wait for it to come out.
Check out the incredibly inventive track list:
"Introduction," Robert Wyatt
"Haiku One," Laetitia Sadier
"Haiku Two," Martine Roberts
"Haiku Three," Mark Mulcahy
"Haiku Four," Alejandro Escovedo
"Haiku Five," Carla Torgerson
"Haiku Six," Carla Torgerson, Akis Boyatzis
"Haiku Seven," Akis Boyatzis
"Haiku Eight," Edith Frost
"Haiku Nine," Mark Eitzel
"Haiku Ten," Cat Power
"Haiku Eleven," Simon Joyner
"Haiku Twelve," Lee Ranaldo
"Haiku Thirteen," Alex Gordon
"Haiku Fourteen," Akis Boyatzis
"Haiku Fifteen," John Grant
"Haiku Fifteen," James William Hindle
"Haiku Sixteen," Lee Ranaldo
"Dead Sea," James Sclavonos
"Water Warm," Pinkie Maclure
Sigmatropic - "Sixteen Haiku And Other Stories" CD - Taking the poetry of Greek Nobel
Laureate George Seferis to a new level, SIGMATROPIC here enlists the vocal talents of an allstar cast of musicians to read/sing Haiku over his sonic foundations. Opening with the somber
and dark 'Introduction' (featuring Robert Wyatt), 'Sixteen Haiku' successfully merges the
written word with rich and moody musical backdrops that range from otherworldly dub to
Morricone-esque rock to trip hop and covering all bases in-between. Notables such as Laeticia
Sadier, Edith Frost, Mark Eitzel, Cat Power, Lee Ranaldo, Howe Gelb, and Steve Wynn pepper
the recordings with a wide assortment of sounds and moods, and SIGMATROPIC's music is
suitably diverse and evocative. Really a fine release and more than a successful translation of
Seferis' words into song. (Thirsty Ear)
- sixteen haiku & other stories
Greek producer Akis Boyatzis originally made this same Sigmatropic album in his
native tongue; it finding him wedding the words of Nobel laureate poet George
Seferis to beatsy backing-tracks of muted breaks, looming keytone, and twangy
guitar. A year on, and he's released an 'international' version of the same,
with Seferis's words translated to English. And, to get to the point, he's roped
in more famous guests than a commercial hip-hop disc. A brief selection of these
goes: Cat Power, Lee Ranaldo, Robert Wyatt, Laetitia Sadier, Mark Eitzel, Edith
Frost, Steve Wynn; and these familiar and occasionally-iconic voices go a long
way to adding to the atmospheric atmosphere Boyatzis is striving to cultivate.
Cat Power, of course, is the star of the show, with Ms.Marshall's amazing voice
arresting even in its brief stay. The tracks Boyatzis assembles tend to be short
and sweet; especially given so much of the album explores the brevity of Haiku;
with the vocalists brought aboard to imbue every sung syllable with as much
drama as they'd have on the page; even if the mere singing of them takes them
both changes the cadence and takes them into a completely different artistic
context. Whilst someone like Marshall or Wyatt have some sort of inexhaustible
musical spirit that, even in a fleeting moment, can help conjure up that certain
magic, overall the disc has the distinct feeling of being less than the sum of
its parts; the patchy track-to-track nature of things failing to succeed in the
grand artistic picture Boyatzis hopes to have painted.
High Bias www.highbias.com
Listening with extreme prejudice
Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories
Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories is one of the more unusual projects to cross my
desk in some time. Greek musician Akis Boyatzis, who records under the name
Sigmatropic, produced an album some time back that put the work of Greek poet
and Nobel Laureate George Seferis to music. After a great deal of success in
Greece, Boyatzis decided to record an international version, with Seferis' work
translated to English and vocalized by a diverse group of indie rock and
underground artists. The catch: most of the pieces selected for the album are in the
form of haiku, the three-line poem that is no more and no less than a literary snapshot, a condensation of
emotional expression into a bullshit-free bite-sized chunk. One could argue that a haiku isn't unlike a
three-minute pop song, but we won't go into a fruitless comparison of one art form to another here.
Regardless, the challenge stood before the singers recruited to work on the project: not only figure out
how to put Seferis' haiku into song form, but also to do it with accompanying music already provided by
Boyatzis. Since it's unlikely that anyone would work on this record unless he was passionate about the
concept, it's unsurprising that the singers rise to the challenge. Besides, Boyatzis' guitar-laced electronics
leave plenty of room for interpretation, whether it's Walkabouts frontperson Carla Torgerson's clear tenor
on "Haiku Five" and "Haiku Six," Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo's forceful rant on "Haiku Twelve" and
"Haiku Sixteen" or singer/songwriter Simon Joyner's creepy croon on "Haiku Eleven." Other guests
include indie rock thrushes Cat Power, Edith Frost and Laetitia Sadler of Stereolab and underground studs
Mark Eitzel, Steve Wynn, Mark Mulcahy (formerly of Miracle Legion), James William Hindle and Alejandro
Escovedo. There are a few breaks from the format for variety's sake. Prog legend Robert Wyatt lends his
ethereal swoon to a full length poem, "On Stage, 2," used as the collection's introduction; Bad Seeds
percussionist James Sclavunos and Giant Sand grand poobah Howe Gelb also vocalize longer, non-haiku
pieces. In fact, the latter's lazy, guttural diction fits both verse and music so well it almost seems that
"This Human Body" was written for him. This is an ambitious project; merging poetry (which Boyatzis is
wise enough to print in the booklet) and music is usually begging for trouble. Not here, though—this
masterful blend of concentrated passion and cool atmospherics works on every level. Proof positive of the
good taking chances can do. Michael Toland [buy it]
February 12th, 2004
Sigmatropic - (Thirsty Ear)
Sixteen Haiku And Other Stories
A record so good they released it thrice. Originally a Greek-language disc, then a European
release, and finally the North American version. A highly infectious music virus, Sixteen Haiku
sets the words of late poet George Seferis to dreamy pop soundscapes, while an elite list of
performers take turns at the mic. There must be something in the Mediterranean waves cuz the
results are mesmerizing. Howe Gelb is terrific as always. Robert Wyatt is chilling. Cat Power
blows everyone out of the water. And if that ain't enough, how about Lee Renaldo yelping
"what's wrong with the rudder, the boat's going in circles." Jump in, this here's the best music
hour of the fresh year. (John Sekerka)
DEC. 26, 2003 - JAN. 1, 2004
The List 2003
The Other Music A-Z
by John Payne
It was a staggering year in sounds, far too much to get a handle on — assuming, that is,
that you wanted to hear something different. Somewhere just over and a bit under the
radar, these discs did or didn’t change your life in 2003.
Active Ingredients (Chad Taylor, Jemeel Moondoc et al.), Titration (Delmark)
A Grape Dope,
Missing Dragons EP (Galaxia)
Home Cooking (Narada)
Sounds Like Everything (Plug Research)
The Angels of Light,
Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home (Young God)
26 Mixes for Cash (Warp)
Art Ensemble of Chicago,
Tribute to Lester (ECM)
Human Conditions (Virgin)
Gran Hotel Buenos Aires (Eighteenth Street Lounge Music)
Talking and Drum Solos (Atavistic)
Kish Kash (Astralwerks)
Tywanna Jo Baskette,
Fancy Blue (Sweet Tea)
Brendan Benson and the Wellfed Boys,
Metarie EP (Startime International)
The Black Keys,
Thickfreakness (Fat Possum)
Looking for America (WATT/ECM)
Books on Tape,
Sings the Blues (Diffusion I Media)
Red Headed Stranger (DiCristina Stair Builders/Revolver)
Haha Sound (Warp)
So (Thrill Jockey)
Le Soleil [Quebec, Canada]
Bijoux de brièveté
Nicolas Houle, Le Soleil
Formation grecque fusionnant poésie, musique et art visuel,
Sigmatropic avait fait paraître en 2002 une première version de
Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories dans sa langue maternelle.
Le projet qui rassemble la poésie minimaliste du défunt écrivain George Seferis — Prix Nobel de littérature en 1963 —
ayant été salué outre-mer, le groupe s’est donc proposé d’en faire une nouvelle version, internationale cette fois, avec une
remarquable équipe pour narrer ou chanter les courts poèmes. Sigmatropic n’a pas réuni n’importe qui : les Robert Wyatt,
Laetita Sadier (Stereolab), Lee Ranaldo et autres James Sclavunos (Bad Seeds) sont au rendez-vous pour donner du
relief à cette fascinante aventure. Ce qui aurait pu n’être qu’un collage de vignettes musicales et poétique éparses s’avère
un magnifique ensemble. Rock underground, électronica, trip-hop, les styles fusionnent aisément, tandis que la grande
équipe de chanteurs se dédie entièrement aux pièces. Du bon-bon.
**** Sigmatropic, Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories (Thristy Ear)
"Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories"
Released: 13 October 2003
Stunning. Now that’s out of the way; the question is: why? To answer, a little background: Haiku is a
non-rhyming Japanese poetic form consisting of three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables, and the Haiku (plural)
in question were written by Nobel laureate George Seferis. Obviously, Seferis’ words have been set to
Sigmatropic’s music, which combines electronics with Mediterranean folk stylings under the guiding hand
of Greece’s Akis Boyatzis. So far, so boring; the masterstroke is in recruiting, among many others, the
voices of Robert Wyatt, Mark Mulcahy, Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo, The Czars’ John Grant and Bad
Seeds/Vanity Set alumnus James Sclavunos. Picking out the efforts of Cat Power and Carla Torgerson
does the others a disservice, so find your own favourites; they’re here somewhere.
SIXTEEN HAIKU AND OTHER STORIES
BY MARK BARTON
Label Web Site
If your looking for something a little tender in which to lose yourself in for the best part of an hour or so, then I couldn’t recommend
enough this timid little beauty, I could chirp until the cows came home at how spellbinding this particular release is, softly twisting
lounge like threads, native folk arrangements, trip hop textures, ambient electronics and tribal beats alongside blissed out improv
workouts, yet there is a story attached to this beguiling release which adds a whole sense of charmed mystique to the mix.
Centred around the nucleus of Greek based Sigmatropic’s melodic threads, this album has been taken on as something of an
International project. Original devised as a score to wrap around the poetry of Nobel Laureate George Seferis, the basis of the idea
was to centre on his early written work which had been conceived in the haiku style derived from the Japanese art of chopping up
poetry, it encompasses his short observations of life in the Aegean, set alongside the musical score a colourful tapestry of life begins
to spring forth. But that wasn’t the end of the matter, by translating Seferis’ words into English, Akis Boyatkis, the principle player
in Sigmatropic, wanted to develop the project further in enlisting a plethora of guest vocals to make this a truly international
adventure. Hence the reason why you find the likes of Robert Wyatt, Laetitia Sadier, Lee Ronaldo, Simon Joyner and fourteen other
invitees all together on one album.
Concentrating on the music side of things, this really is a compelling body of work, each of the tracks lock into each other to create
a wide screened symphony, each can be listened to as stand alone but brought together are invested with a sum far greater than its
parts, though that’s not to say that they are cut from the same cast as each memorably weaves it’s own unique imprint. In the main
it’s all about creating moods, delicate soundscapes that, and here’s the beauty of this, match guest artists to styles of music that
you’d never imagine them to be associated with in particular the opening cut featuring Robert Wyatt, the glacial sounds adorned
with subtle trip hop beats encouraging Wyatt’s usually impeccable frail vocal to stretch like you’ve never heard it before, then the
added novelty of hearing Laetitia Sadiers vocals transported from the warm confines of space lounge Francophile pop to do battle
against the elements of the cavernous ‘Felt Mountain’ like dynamics on ‘Haiku 1’ while elsewhere Mark Eitzel is supported by
stately Orbital like backdrops on ‘Haiku 10’. ‘Haiku 3’ features the vocals of Mark Mulcahy, the former Miracle Legioner twists
alluringly against the backdrop of warming Ry Cooder like grandeur, Texas based Nuns mainman Alejandro Escovedo is also found
wandering unfamiliar paths as he navigates dreamily against an abandoned flurry of detached ambient mood spills. One of the
collections best moments is the rather jiggling sensuality of ‘Haiku Five’, which sees the vocals of the Walkabouts’ Carla Torgerson
softly sizzling away to a fluffy space like thread that would probably be more familiar to Laetitia Sadier. Then there’s the soothing
ornamental frosted lullaby’s of the graceful ‘Haiku Seven’ to contend with, bracing stuff as it flinches with a demeanour more
associated with a Spaghetti western but tripped with an intergalactic vibe. ‘Haiku Eight’ has the same neutered elegance of Kate
Bush’s ‘Army Dreamers’ featuring Edith Frost who apparently stretched her vocal to enough tracks to be considered for an album in
its own right.
‘Haiku Twelve’ finds the first of Lee Ronaldo’s contributions caught in atmospheric territories sounding like Stewart Copeland,
capped with magnificently sombre washes of electronics while underneath a stalking guitar riff burrows away. John Grant really
does has a sound of Ian McCulloch on ‘Haiku 14(b)’ but maybe that has more to do with the icy glaze of the Bunnymen-ish
melodies that chill in the background sounding like a cross between the ethereal ‘In bluer skies’ from ‘Porcupine’ and the Lost Boys
era ‘Lips’ phase. ‘Haiku 16’ cavorts with the ladened elegiac sounds of latter day Flying Saucer Attack fencing with a perkier Roy
Montgomery and which bleeds teasingly into the tasty exotic folly of ‘Dead Sea’ itself falling lovingly into the tender vocals of
Pinkie Maclure on the heart aching cinematic sheen of ‘Water Warm. With ’16 Haiku and other Stories’ Sigmatropic have created a
wonderfully sublime journey through life as seen by another, a thoroughly enthralling and engaging trip which is thoroughly
recommended you should take sooner rather than later.
Stars turn out prose and poetry
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
By GINA VIVINETTO
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
Tell me, do you notice a trend with these recent news items?
• British rocker Elvis Costello announced in March he's penning not one but two books for Simon & Schuster: a
story collection inspired by his songs due in late 2005, and a "comic philosophy" book on how to play the guitar.
• R&B singer-pianist Alicia Keys has let folks know she's in talks to create a series of children's mystery books
called "Alicia Keys' Street Mysteries," with each novel named after one of her tunes.
• Esquire introduced pop singer-guitarist and Grammy winner John Mayer as the writer behind the new
monthly column "The Resident Rock Star," which began this month.
Is it me or are a whole lot of pop stars picking up pens and laptops?
Alas, this phenomenon isn't so new. It called to mind rockers in the past with published prose. It also reminded
me that some of it wasn't half bad. Including:
• Richard Hell, punk-rock guitarist and leader of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, in 1996 published the critically
acclaimed novel "Go Now," which dazzled, among others, cyberpunk author William Gibson. (Hell has
published other works, too.)
• Kinky Friedman, once the leader of Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, a beloved quirky country band,
is now better known as a mystery author.
• Henry Rollins, former Black Flag and Rollins Band leader, is so in love with the printed word he created
2:13:61, a grass-roots publishing company to release his and other maverick authors' books.
When it comes to poetry, look out. Seems every rock and pop lyricist under the sun considers himself wellversed enough to be published. The bards include:
• Jim Morrison of the Doors, because he was the Lizard King, and as such, he could do anything, including
writing "Lords and New Creatures."
• The voice of his generation, Bob Dylan, whose song lyrics have been printed as poetry in many collections.
So have those of Lou Reed, former leader of the Velvet Underground and disciple of poet Delmore Schwartz,
Reed's professor at Syracuse University. Several of Reed's songs are dedicated to Schwartz.
• Punk singer-spoken-word-performer Lydia Lunch (once in front of the 1970s act Teenage Jesus and the
Jerks), who has had many journals and books of poetry published.
• Patti Smith, the Godmother of Punk, acolyte of Dylan, the Stones, and Rimbaud, who has been published in
• Jewel, the little folkie who wrote the god-awful "A Night Without Armor."
• Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs, both published poets.
• The late rapper Tupac Shakur, whose lyrics have been published as poetry.
And let's not forget Joseph Simmons, better known as Run of the pioneer rap group Run-DMC. In April,
Simmons entered himself as a candidate for poet laureate of Queens. (He didn't win.)
Pop critics or pop stars?
A category dear to me features folks who pulled off both tasks. These are the music writers and pop-music
critics who wrote about other performers and played in bands of their own:
• Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders.
• Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys.
• Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo.
• Patti Smith (so, she wrote a
• Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group.
• And of course, famed Creem critic Lester Bangs, who led Lester Bangs and the Delinquents.
In a very special domain, we place noted fiction writers and aspiring rockers Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave
Barry, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, and Barbara Kingsolver, who together call themselves the Rock Bottom
Remainders and perform occasionally.
The band, which features King and Barry on guitar and Tan on lead vocals, got started in 1992. The
Remainders even embarked on a tour, dubbed the "Three Chords and an Attitude" tour, and released a
"Stranger Than Fiction" CD.
How good are the Rock Bottom Remainders? On the band's Web site, Barry says, "The band plays music as
well as Metallica writes novels."
Short stories by musicians
Thunder's Mouth Press recently released "Carved in Rock: Short Stories by Musicians," featuring stories by
outlaw country singer Steve Earle, Joan Jett, Pete Townshend of the Who, Eric Burdon of the Animals, Ray
Manzarek of the Doors, and the aforementioned Lydia Lunch and Kinky Friedman, among others.
A disc of haiku
"16 Haiku & Other Stories" (Thirsty Ear) is an album of poems by Greek Nobel laureate George Seferis sung in
English and performed musically by a cast of hep Ÿindie rockers, including Cat Power, Mark Eitzel (American
Music Club), Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth).
The album was shaped by Greek multi-instrumentalist Akis Boyatzis, better known as Sigmatropic, who was
determined to give the disc a global sound, heavy on the cross-cultural vibe.
Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories (Thirsty Ear)
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Relying on a cheap pun isn't normally the best way to start a review. But given Sigmatropic's origins, as
well as its strange mix of sounds, the oft-quoted expression "it's all Greek to me" somehow seems
Taken literally, Sigmatropic refers to Greek producer/multi-instrumentalist Akis Boyatzis, who recruited
several musicians to create this inspired interpretation of 16 poems by the late Greek Nobel laureate
George Seferis. The saying, however, might also apply to the collective's esoteric approach, which often
makes the music difficult to grasp. The otherworldly arrangements -- forged through a combination of
guitars, violin, glockenspiel, cello, Celtic harp, synths and keyboards -- create a kind of cosmic brew,
sometimes churning, mostly free-floating. The results accentuate the reflective qualities of Seferis'
meditations, from the ethereal sounds that drift through the various haiku to the swirling melodic
cacophony that ignites "The Dead Sea" and "Water Warm."
Fortunately, the overall sense of disorientation is cushioned by an array of guest singers, including such
luminaries as Cat Power, Robert Wyatt, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Eitzel, Howe Gelb, Lee Ranaldo, Laetitia
Sadier of Stereolab, and Carla Torgerson of the Walkabouts. They gently intone Seferis' words, as
translated into English, making the project a bit more palatable to American ears. Softly sensual, these tone
poems effectively celebrate their muse through the music.
phoenixnewtimes.com | originally published: January 29, 2004
Sixteen Haiku and
The imminent Australian release, in mid October, of
an interesting new album has come to our attention
- and not just for its intriguing blend of music.
The release by the artist(s) known as Sigmatropic
and its title alerted us to a relation with Seferis'
poetry and his Sixteen Haiku.
These settings of Sixteen Haiku by the Greek poet,
George Seferis, were composed on the Greek island
of Aegina between August and November 1983. Back
in 2002, Sigmatropic released to the Greek public
Sigmatropic, above, re-releases Sixteen Haiku... this time
the original version of 'Sixteen Haiku and other stories' which was based on this poetry by Seferis. This new
effort is the international version of that project.
Sigmatropic is the name of the band created by the session musician Akis Boyatzis. Together with the
highly respected musician-producer Antonis Livieratos, since1997, they have been 'meshing breezy
Mediterranean flavoured beats with ice-chilled electronica.'
The 'Sixteen Haiku and other stories,' feature guest vocalists from both sides of the Atlantic.
The idea was born in 2001 when Sigmatropic wanted to create a sprawling and magical musical trip: a
musical accompaniment to an imaginary journey. The result is an atmospheric musical odyssey that
supports this poetic wordplay. The soundtrack quality of this recording is earthy and works well with the
After this album's original Greek release, Akis Boyatzis asked eighteen overseas musicians to recreate the
spirit of the work, retaining the same music with the same poetry, but, translated into English. And so, in
the English version, each vocalist chooses and sings their favourite Haiku. Together with Sigmatropic and
Akis Boyatzis the full guest vocal line up for this release is representative of the Western Indie scene.
You will hear Cat Power, Mark Eitzel, Alejandro Escovedo, Alex Gordon (Lincoln), John Grant (The Czars),
Edith Frost, Howe Gelb, James William Hindle, Simon Joyner, Pinkie Maclure, Mark Mulcahy, Lee Ranaldo,
Martine Roberts (Broken Dog), Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), James Sclavunos (Nick Cave and the Bad
Seeds), Carla Torgenson (Walkabouts), Robert Wyatt and Steve Wynn all contributing.
The music is a mix of acoustic instruments alongside a very electronic approach. As for the words of Seferis,
they elevate this album above the ambient and into the beautiful:
"You always write / The ink diminishes / The sea multiplies"
This is the second time we have heard the Sixteen Haiku set to music. Back in 1984, the English composer
John Tavener composed music for solo voices and orchestra on the very same settings of Seferis' poetry.
This effort is definitely worth your undivided attention!
No Ripcord album review
Album Round-Up: February 2004
In an attempt to cut through the morass of over informative prefixes, Ben Bollig dives into the murky world
of all things dirty, strange and avant-garde...
Having set for myself up for a volley of abuse after savaging one Eastern European prog rock album,
Sigmatropic’s latest efforts, Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories filled me with no little trepidation. Akis
Boyatzis, founder and main nucleus of Sigmatropic, marked his musical presence in his native Greece for
the first time in the early 80s with local New Wave bands Captain Nefos and Libido Blume. He re-emerged
in 1997 as a new revolving outfit called Sigmatropic, a single person home-studio project into an exciting
full-blown live band. The latest instalment is the international version of 16 Haiku And Other Stories,
based on the poetry of the late Nobel laureate George Seferis, featuring a lengthy roster of musicians, from
Laetitia Sadier to Mark Eitzel, all delivering their vocal interpretation of the English translated poetry over
the same music. Musically, it’s a dark studio-based electro trawl, mixing in some Meditarranean guitars and
beats for light relief. Poetically, for some there will be too much, for others, too little. Haiku 1 translates
almost perfectly, while Haiku 6 – ‘Her breasts are heavy in the looking glass’ – is barmy but rather sexy.
Mark Eitzel’s vocal contributions offer gravitas and tension, while my personal favourite has to be Cat
Power’s brief performance on Haiku 10, brash, raspy and perfectly accompanied by the Sigma guitars. At 22
tracks it’s a bit much, but Boyatzis cannot be faulted for his range and vision, and as introductions to the
Greek avant-garde go, this is, frankly, a much more pleasant experience than I’d expected. (6.5)
Reviewed By Ben Bollig
February 15th, 2004
SIGMATROPIC SIXTEEN HAIKU AND OTHER
STORIES (THIRSTY EAR)
buy this @ amazon.ca
On the surface, Sixteen Haiku And Other Stories is a concept way too weird to work in a pop context. A
bunch of indie darlings sing English translations of the short poems of Nobel laureate George Seferis,
backed by amorphous Greek indie electronic outfit Sigmatropic. Uh, yeah. Shockingly, not only does the
ambitious project succeed, but it's beautiful. Sigmatropic founder Akis Boyatzis plays matchmaker,
providing idiosyncratic singers like Laetitia Sadier, Mark Eitzel and Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo with the
perfect lyrical wisps. Who else but Chan Marshall could pull off "I am raising now / A dead butterfly / With
no makeup"? The arrangements are evocative and intricate, and the power of these tiny perfect poems is
NOW | JAN 29 - FEB 4, 2004 | VOL. 23 NO. 22
June 3rd, 2004
Sigmatropic - (Thirsty Ear Records)
Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories
Somewhere between the idea of getting a bunch of name-check artists to compose songs around the
poetry of George Seferis and the possibility of this album actually getting pressed, we've ended up
with a kind of post-rock version of the This Mortal Coil project. A jaw-dropping assortment of sonic
alt-royalty - from Robert Wyatt to Laetitia Sadier, Alejandro Escovedo to Cat Power, Howe Gelb to
Lee Renaldo - drop aural inspiration on Seferis's haiku quandaries. It's moody and sluggish, and
wildly changeable within those confines. It's sure to polarize opinion, but love it or hate it, it's not
The concept isn't new, but it is
taken to the highest levels imaginable
on 16 Haiku & Other Stories.
It's simply an amazing album.
H o l d e n
K i l r o y
Sigmatropic - 16 Haiku & other Stories (Thirsty Ear)
Release Date - January 20th, 2004 (www.thirstyear.com)
Originally released in Greece to incredible acclaim, (and what hasn't been really), "16 Haiku &
other Stories" is a collection of poetry written by the late Greek Nobel Laureate George Seferis,
set to the music of the group Sigmatropic.
Now, I know what you're saying to yourself - "My God, I have the late Greek Nobel Laureate
George Seferis' complete works here on my nightstand, and I saw Sigmatropic five times last
summer! This is a dream come true!"
I said the same thing. Then I realized that this project was a lot more than just that.
Sigmatropic was formed in 1997 by Akis Boyatzis, who had found success in the states with his
band - Hum, a group born in 1989 around the now notorious musical region of Champaign,
Illinois. Hum released their first album on a label created by The Poster Children and a lineup
changed soon followed, with Poster Children members Jeff Dimpsey and Tim Lash taking up bass
and guitar responsibilities respectively. Hum was soon signed to a major label and scored a radio
hit in the mid-nineties with a catchy little ditty called "Stars".
After Hum's demise, Boyatzis went home to his native Greece and created what would become
the group Sigmatropic, which left behind the New Wave power pop punk of Hum, in favor of a
sound meshing "breezy Mediterranean flavored beats with ice-chilled Electronica". Putting out an
album and an E.P. on the Greek label Hitch-Hike, Sigmatropic released "16 Haiku & other
Stories" in Greece in 2002. It became a smash hit and releasing an English version was talked
about soon after.
The original Greek version of "16 Haiku & other Stories" contained a majestic musical and literary
odyssey with spellbinding soundtrack like music underneath vocalization of Haiku poetry. In
short, it was pretty fucking cool.
For the English version, it was decided to put together an all-star cast of indie rock's most
notable Haiku lovers. I don't know the Haiku love thing for certain, but it's a safe assumption. On
this album you can find the legendary Robert Wyatt, Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab, former
American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Dream Syndicate
founder Steve Wynn, Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, Cat Power, Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave and the
Bad Seeds, and Alejandro Escovedo to name just a few.
And man do they kick it.
The unconventional song structure that Sigmatropic provides complements the poetry
beautifully. These aren't just poems turned into songs, they're works of art crafted into even
better works of art. It's like taking the Mona Lisa and adding cleavage. The mood never fails to
accentuate the content of the original poetry, and each vocal performance blends into the music
in a way that makes perfection an understatement.
The concept isn't new, The Doors released "An American Prayer" in 1978, but it is taken to the
highest levels imaginable on "16 Haiku & other Stories". It's simply an amazing album.
Sigmatropic: Sixteen Haiku & Other
Review by: John Benson
For those music lovers who continually seek challenges with their listening time, here is a release from start to finish
that will test anyone’s obscure listening habits. Ingeniously inviting a host of diverse and internationally renowned
artists - most of which have through-the-roof indie cred - to interpret George Seferis’s Greek poetry into English, the
experimental Sigmatropic provides the musical foundation on SIXTEEN HAIKU AND OTHER STORIES, which
incorporates an earthy aesthetic juxtaposed with electronic additions and guitar noises. The result is completely odd
with contributions by Cat Power and Edith Frost worth a listen but this novelty record never rises above such a
description. Then again, if out-there is where your musical tastes are, this 22-track disc should be right at home.
Buy "Sixteen Haiku & Other" at Plan9Music.com
Cat Power, Boyatzis Go Greek
Sigmatropic project fuses poetry with indie rock
By pairing haiku by Greek Nobel Laureate George Seferis with the voices
of Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, Cat Power, Mark Eitzel and Howe Gelb, Akis
Boyatzis isn't likely to strike sales gold. But Akis Boyatzis' arcane project,
titled Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories (which he recorded with a roving
cast of Greek musicians under the moniker of Sigmatropic), is nonetheless
one of the most fascinating and lovely creations of the year.
Well, actually last year. Sixteen Haiku was originally released in Boyatzis' native
Greece until he recently made the decision to record rework the music, translate the
poetry from Greek to English and bring a cross-section of independent rockers to
play on it. The new set will be released by Thirsty Ear records on January 20th.
Akis Boyatzis, haiku enthusiast
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Boyatzis says that idea for the project came to him thirteen years ago as he was
reading through some books of Greek poetry. "Some poems by Seferis impressed
me for their atmosphere and the musicality of their words," he says. He eventually
began to put music to a pair of poems, but pocketed the idea for nine years. It
wasn't until 2000 that Seferis happened upon Seferis' Sixteen Haiku collection.
"These short poems drew my attention from the first moment," he says, "as they
had the water, the wind and the sun as key elements and were sometimes dark,
sometimes funny and at times subversive. The whole thing became so clear that it
immediately sparked the engagement of this poetry with music."
Boyatzis and his Greek label Hitch Hyke teamed with the London-based label Tongue Master Records, which helped
assemble the list of guests who were given the original Greek album along with a set of translated lyrics. "Their
interpretation of the music and the whole concept in general was really interesting," he says, "emphasizing a unique
point of view in each case. In all cases these were really brilliant and very engaging approaches, with excellent vocal
qualities. They helped to suddenly see the relationship of this poetry with the music through a new window."
Part of Boyatzis' challenge was to fuse the disparate voices. "Cohesiveness of the result was one of the main things I was
looking for," he says. "The music was reworked, and this is the reason why the production of this material meant more
than mixing an English-sung vocal layer on top of the instrumental layer that already existed."
And in some cases, like Gelb's haunting collaboration on "This Human Body," Boyatzis incorporated new music from his
counterparts. Gelb was approached to contribute to the album, but it took him a year to get around to doing it. "I just
yanked around some wires on my sonic shed's floor," he says. "I managed to play some electric guitar in parts and some
plonk piano, besides the mutter of the lyric." The song features Gelb's Leonard Cohen-esque vocal resting above his
skronky guitar lines, which Boyatzis and his Sigmatropic fuse with strings and a shuffling drum beat.
Boyatzis says that several artists offered up variations on more than one track, which left him with a surplus of material
that might see the light of day on various vinyl releases, suggesting that this line of music isn't anywhere close to played
out. "Besides," he says, "there are still more poems by George Seferis that already met with the Sigmatropic music that
are unused. I cannot rule out the possibility of eventually using some of these songs in one of our future releases."
The track listing for Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories:
"Introduction (On Stage, 2)," with Robert Wyatt "Haiku One," Laetitia Sadier "Haiku Two," Martine Roberts "Haiku Three
(In the Museum Garden)," Mark Mulcahey "Haiku Four," Alejandro Escovedo "Haiku Five," Carla Torgerson "Haiku Six,"
Carla Torgerson and Akis Boyatzis "Haiku Seven" "Haiku Eight," Edith Frost "Haiku Nine," Mark Eitzel "Haiku Ten," Cat
Power "Haiku Eleven," Simon Joyner "Haiku Twelve (Unprofitable Boat Line)," Lee Ranaldo "Haiku Thirteen (Sick Fury),"
Alex Gordon "Haiku Fourteen" (sung in Greek) "Haiku Fourteen," John Grant (sung in English) "Haiku Fifteen," James
William Hindle "Haiku Sixteen," Lee Ranaldo "Dead Sea (Logbook II)," James Sclavunos "Water Warm (Sketches for
Summer)," Pinkie Maclure "This Human Body," Howe Gelb "The Jasmine," Steve Wynn
(November 19, 2003)
SLUG Magazine Dec. 2003 CD Reviews
16 Haiku & Other Stories
This is quite possibly the most beautiful recording I’ve ever heard. Not beautiful in the sense that I was personally
deprived of my breath in a moment of surreal ecstasy though; it’s more of a stereotypical beauty (is that an
oxymoron?), as if they set out in the beginning to actually make the most beautiful recording of all time, so it loses
quite a bit in its superficiality. This album is the poetry of Greek poet laureate George Seferis translated into
English, read by indie rockers like Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier and set to the
ethereally spacey music of Sigmatropic. The poetry is good, but this recording overall is a bit unbearable. For one
thing, most of the poems are haikus (very short) and the songs are all two or three minutes long. This leaves, in
some cases, quite a bit of dead space while the listener is craving more words, or in others, a lot of repeating single
lines while the listener wishes they would shut up. I’m torn on whether or not to recommend this album, and if I do,
who exactly to recommend it to, so I’ll puss out and take the safe bet by saying “Try reading a book, you
uncultured, illiterate slobs!” –Nate
REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | FORUM | MISC
Sigmatropic is a revolving group of Greek musicians, brought together by producer
and multi-instrumentalist Akis Boyatzsis to create electronica of considerable subtlety
and finesse. This is technically the third release of 16 Haiku -- but don't worry, it's far
from being merely reissued or retooled. The first version was released in Greece and
featured the poetry of Greek Nobel Laureate George Seferis. Given its success as a
domestic release, the rest of Europe decided to take a crack at Sigmatropic's mojo
last year. The poems were translated into English and sung by a host of indie rock
royalty: Cat Power, Robert Wyatt, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Mark Eitzel, Steve
Wynn, Howe Gelb, Lee Ranaldo, et cetera. Now, Thirsty Ear has brought the album
stateside for its "third release".
16 Haiku and Other Stories
Format Reviewed: CD
As you can imagine, such a varied list of vocalists is bound to bring with it a variety of
approaches. It's unlikely that any but the most stalwartly open-minded of indie fans
wouldn't play favorites (even just a teensy bit) with 16 Haiku's guest list. That's all right
-- so many prominent groups/artists are represented that there's something for
One of my favorites is Robert Wyatt's haunting reading of the introduction,
accompanied by Fender Rhodes, violin and drums. There's a spare economy here
that supplies plenty of room for Wyatt's pliant reading of the poem, which begins,
"Bells were heard, and messengers arrived, I wasn't expecting them..."
Equally compelling in its own way is "Haiku Ten", sung by Cat Power's Chan Marshall.
Stathis Ioannou's electric guitar finds a timbre and demeanor that reflects the vocalist's own solo work, while Antonis
Livieratos and Kriton Beyer fill in the sonic landscape with a variety of effects and Yannis Tryferoulis creates a rich rhythmic
background with his drumming.
Laetitia Sadier's voice is modulated to fit within the fabric of the electronic tapestry woven on "Haiku One", but still rides
above the digital swell. Accompanied by Spaghetti Western-styled Telecaster twanging, Mark Eitzel's contribution on "Haiku
Nine" is often more intoned (in a basso rumble) than sung -- a delivery that matches the enigmatic tone of the poem "Naked
Woman, The pomegranate she threw was full of Stars".
The CD's "enhanced" feature is a video of "Haiku Five", on which Boyazsis is joined by Carla Torgerson. This track features
a host of instruments (as well as extensive treatment of Torgerson's voice): glockenspiel, wah-wahed electric guitar and
16 Haiku and Other Stories is definitely a case in which too many cooks have not spoiled the stew. The music is compelling,
attractive and easily stands up to repeated listening.
-- Christian Carey
Tiny Mix Tapes
Friday, October 31, 2003
Cat Power, Sonic Youth, Stereolab, & Wyatt Practice Haikus Together, Eat Unagi
For all you bedroom rockers out there who’d sometimes rather be at home with your nose in a book, the atmospheric
Greek band Sigmatropic are releasing Sixteen Haiku and Other Stories in the U.S. on January 20. A variety of indie artists
— most notably Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Mark Eitzel, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Alejandro
Escovedo, Steve Wynn, and Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb — are lending their voices to this interpretation of poet George
Seferis’ haiku. Seferis, considered the most distinguished Greek poet of the 1930s, won the Nobel prize for Literature in
1963, and these poems are apparently so good that they’ve also been covered by the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra in
With this collaboration, Sigmatropic aims to give “the Japanese chopped up poetry style” (three verses of 5-7-5 syllables
usually depicting seasonal changes) its day in the sun, with bandmember Akis Boyatzis in charge of creating a fitting
musical backdrop. Sigmatropic’s website explains: “His programming skills weave an ethereal spell full of Spartan peaks
and bleak terrains. The voiceovers float around like a magic wand spelling out stories about colours, nature and the
seasons ... (the soundtrack is) grainy and mystical.” We shall see!
If the idea intrigues you, tide yourself over in the meantime with “The Haiku Year," a book of spare, intimate poetry
exchanged between friends Michael Stipe, Tom Gilroy, Douglas A. Martin, Grant Lee Phillips, Anna Grace, and Steve
Earle. For more information, as well as some mp3 downloads, go here: http://www.sigmatropic.gr/
1. "[Intro] on stage, 2" Robert Wyatt
2. "Haiku one" by Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab)
3. "Haiku two" by Martine Roberts (Broken Dog)
4. "Haiku three in the museum garden" by Mark Mulcahy
5. "Haiku four" by Alejandro Escovedo
6. "Haiku five" by Carla Torgerson (The Walkabouts)
7. "Haiku six" by Carla Torgerson & Akis Boyatzis
8. "Haiku seven" by Akis Boyatzis
9. "Haiku eight" by Edith Frost
10. "Haiku nine young fate" by Mark Eitzel
11. "Haiku ten" by Cat Power
12. "Haiku eleven" by Simon Joyner
13. "Haiku twelve unprofitable boat line" by Lee Ranaldo
14. "Haiku thirteen sick fury" by Alex Gordon (Lincoln)
15. "Haiku fourteen A" by Akis Boyatzis (in greek)
16. "Haiku fourteen B" by John Grant (The Czars)
17. "Haiku fifteen" by James William Hindle
18. "Haiku sixteen" by Lee Ranaldo
19. "Dead Sea (Logbook II)" by James Sclavunos
20. "Water Warm (sketches for a summer)" by Pinkie Maclure
21. "This Human Body" by Howe Gelb (Giant Sand)
2.2 "The Jasmine" by Steve Wynn
posted by rachel
Rock, pop and prose
By GINA VIVINETTO, Times Pop Music Critic
Published May 20, 2004
A DISC OF HAIKU: 16 Haiku & Other Stories (Thirsty Ear) is an album of poems by Greek Nobel laureate George Seferis sung in
English and performed musically by a cast of hep indie rockers including Cat Power, Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), Laetitia
Sadier (Stereolab) and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth).
The album was shaped by Greek multi-instrumentalist Akis Boyatzis, better known as Sigmatropic, who was determined to give the disc
a global sound, heavy on the cross-cultural vibe.
"In this ever-shrinking political world of ours," Boyatzis told Magnet, "people of all backgrounds - especially artists - need to keep
abreast of each other's thoughts and world views."
Sigmatropic -- "Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories"
Exotic, peaceful, mystical, and educational, Sigmatropic landed a deal with some poems by the late Greek Nobel Laureate
George Seferis and put them to music, with some of our favorite singers telling stories within haiku poems and, as the title
reads, “other stories.” The music is ambient, spaced out and patterned around the often-repeated haikus because the
poems are so short. It's music that makes me want to drink fine red wine at an intimate dinner party, or lounge in a hot bath
while incense is burning, this CD is well worth the exploration of the curious. Lyrics that make you think would not be fitting
for a wild house party, so I recommend it for lonely listening. It’s the perfect backdrop for a serious student, reading for midterms on the following day. Sounds of nature make it all the more relaxing and pleasant. With singers like Laetitia Sadier
(Stereolab), Edith Frost, Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), Cat Power, Simon Joyner, Howe Gelb (Calexico) and many
other rare delights, how can one go wrong? The poems on this record are like paintings. For example: “She rests her
fingers/ on the sea-blue scarf/ Look, there: corals” paints such a vivid picture that lingers in the mind, making one hungry to
learn more. There are enough to satisfy an appetite here: 22 tracks in total.
-- Jaime Ohlsson (January 20, 2004)
www.voir.ca [Montreal, Canada]
5 février 2004
Sigmatropic - (Thirsty Ear)
Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories
Akis Boyatzis, l'âme de Sigmatropic, est peut-être inconnu ici-bas, mais il a un sacré culot d'avoir mis sur pied un
projet d'une telle envergure. Boyatzis s'est basé sur les haïkus du Prix Nobel grec George Seferis pour composer une
vingtaine de pièces musicales plutôt inclassables, entre folk, rock et musique électro. Puis ont été convoquées à cette
expérience étrangement fascinante, aussi atmosphérique qu'organique, les voix de Cat Power, de Laetitia Sadier
(Stereolab), de Mark Eitzel, de Robert Wyatt, de Lee Renaldo (Sonic Youth) et de bien d'autres, qui semblent y
prendre un grand plaisir... Le plus surprenant est que l'aventure tient la route de façon formidable, malgré son grand
fractionnement, et que Boyatzis a donné une belle unité d'ambiance à l'ensemble. Une agréable découverte !
Ny Sida [Sweden]
SIGMATROPIC:16 HAIKU & OTHER STORIES
Haiku är en japansk poesiform. Tonsatta av George Seferis och framförda av en rad
av de största; Robert Wyatt, Alejandro Escovedo, Edith Frost, Howe Gelb, Lee
Ranaldo, Carla "Walkabours" Torgenson, Laetitia "Stereolab" Sadier, James William
Hindle, Mark Mulcahy, Steve Wynn och ett par till! Snygg - bra! # TMAST002 (251-1)
Sigmatropic/ Sixteen haikus and Other Stories
Antonis Livieratos em parceria com Akis Boyatzis que cria a musica para a poesia de nada mais nada menos que de
um laureado com o nobel, o Grego, George Seferis produzem este " Sixteen haikus and Other Stories " sigmatropic, é
um conjunto de musicos gregos e o album saiu na grecia em 2002, mas Boyatzis resolveu internacionalizar o projecto
utilizando a mesmissima musica mas com os Poemas devidamente traduzidos para Inglês e entregou as vocalizações
a elite vejam vos mesmos, Robert Wyatt, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Eitzel, Cat Power,
Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) e ainda ha mais, eu diria que
quase me lembra o sahara blue do hector zazou e os poemas do Rimbaud, as faixas são 22 aqui ficam :
1. Introduction (On Stage, 2)(Robert Wyatt)
2. Haiku One (Laetitia Sadier)
3. Haiku Two (Martine Roberts)
4. Haiku Three (In the Museum Garden) (Mark Mulcahy)
5. Haiku Four (Alejandro Escovedo)
6. Haiku Five (Carla Torgerson)
7. Haiku Six (Carla Torgerson - ???? ?p???at???)
8. Haiku Seven (???? ?p???at???)
9. Haiku Eight (Edith Frost)
10. Haiku Nine (Mark Eitzel)
11. Haiku Ten (Cat Power)
12. Haiku Eleven (Simon Joyner)
13. Haiku Twelve (Unprofitable Boat Line) (Lee Ranaldo)
14. Haiku Thirteen (Sick Fury) (Alex Gordon)
15. Haiku Fourteen (Greek) (???? ?p???at???)
16. Haiku Fourteen (John Grant)
17. Haiku Fifteen (James William Hindle)
18. Haiku Sixteen (Lee Ranaldo)
19. Dead Sea (Logbook II) (James Sclavunos)
20. Water Warm (Sketches for a summer) (Pinkie Maclure)
21. This human body (Howe Gelb)
22. The Jasmine (Steve Wynn)
PS . os ? em frente aos nomes conrresponde a letras gregas que não aparecem
POSTED BY LFLIPCABRAL AT 8/4/2004
Médiathèque de Seraing Nos sélections
Sigmatropic « Sixteen haiku & other stories »
(Tongue master, Angleterre, 2003) XS353K (rock)
16 haiku (court poème d’origine japonaise, apparu au 16ième Siècle) basés sur
l’œuvre du poète grec George Seferis, mis en musique de manière moderne et
chantés par des artistes reconnus (Robert Wyatt, Steve Wynn, Lee Ranaldo, Mark
Eitzel, Howe Gelb, Cat Power, …). La beauté, la densité et le caractère contradictoire
de ces textes, ressortent pleinement, grâce à l’enluminure des voix et des
arrangements sensibles (mandoline, guitares, violoncelle, piano, sampling, harpe
celtique, basse, glockenspiel).
Sigmatropic - Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories
Ein Haiku ist eine alegorisches Kurzgedichtform, die im 16. Jahrhundert in Japan
entstanden ist und Anfang des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts Eingang in die westliche Lyrik
gefunden hat. Meist in Form hermetischer dreizeiliger Sprüche gefasst, die vor allem
atmosphärische Qualitäten aufweisen. Keines Beispiel: Der alte Teich. / Ein Frosch springt
hinein- / das Geräusch des Wassers (Bashô).
Sechzehn derartiger Formeln, verfasst vom griechischen Diplomaten, Essayisten, Poeten
und Nobelpreis-Empfänger Giorgios Stylianou Seferiades und mit Hilfe der weiblichen
Walkabouts-Stimme Carla Torgerson ins Englische übertragen, werden hier von der
griechischen Formation Sigmatropic vertont. So entsteht ein musikalisches Kaleidoskop,
das zunächst durch die Vielfalt der vortragenden Persönlichkeiten und die
Unterschiedlichkeit Interpretationsansätze unterhält. Robert Wyatt, Edith Frost, Laetitia
Sadier (Stereolab), Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Eitzel, Cat Power, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic
Youth), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) - um nur einige zu
nennen - reichen hier als Interpreten den Staffelstab weiter.
Aber auch musikalisch gesehen purzeln hier ganz verschieden geformte und
unterschiedlich eingefärbte Strasssplitter durch diesen lyrischen Mirkokosmos. Viel
elektronisches ist zu hören aber auch klassische Gitarrensounds, die Arrangements - eher
arty. Wie schon die Rezeptionsgeschichte des Haikus selbst, so ist auch dieses Projekt ein
transkulturelles Phänomen und ein nicht nur interessantes, sondern auch löbliches
Unterfangen. Über den ästhetischen Wert von "Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories" kann man
allerdings geteilter Meinung sein.
Home>Mania>Genres>Pop & Rock> VARIOUS
VARIOUS - Sigmatropic- Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories
Dit is een heel bijzonder project. Voor Sigmatropic werden
gedichten van de Griek George Seferis op muziek gezet en
vervolgens werd een keur aan artiesten gevraagd om de drie- of
vier- regelige gedichten in te zingen. En dan hebben we het over
artiesten als Robert Wyatt, Mark Mulcahy, Mark Eitzel, Cat Power,
Howe Gelb, Lee Ranaldo van Sonic Youth, Laetitia Sadier van
Stereolab, Carla Torgerson van de Walkabouts en nog een aantal
anderen. Zelfs Alejandro Escovedo kwam van zijn ziekbed om een
gedicht op te nemen. Maar laten we bij het begin beginnen. George
Seferis is en Griekse dichter die in 1963 de Nobelprijs voor de
literatuur kreeg. Zijn werk werd al eerder door Mikis Theodorakis op
muziek gezet. De gedichten op de cd zijn allemaal haiku’s, korte
gedichten van drie of vier regels met voorgeschreven aantal
lettergrepen. Terug naar de muziek. Het is bijzonder om zoveel
talent bij elkaar te hebben op ιιn cd. Kritiekpuntje is echter de
begeleidende muziek. Die werd gespeeld door een Griekse band en
is licht triphop- achtig. Jammer is dat de muzikanten de neiging
hebben om de muziek te laten overheersen over de teksten en de
vocalen. Wat subtieler opgebouwde nummers als The Jasmine, met
vocalen van Steve Wynn, en Carla Torgerson’s Haiku Five vallen
dan ook positief op. Bijzonder is Sigmatropic zeker. En voor de
snelle beslissers is er een versie beschikbaar met een bonus- cd
met nog eens zes nummers.
Recensent : Han Orsel
Genre: Pop & Rock
Verschenen in Plato Mania nr: 185
Datum recensie: 28-11-2003
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Plato Mania waardering:
Reihenfolge nach Eingang der Zusendung
Together We’re Stranger
Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories
Hurle Tout ...Lιo Ferrι
The Angels Of Light
Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home
Love Is Hell Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
Sixteen haiku & other stories
( Tongue Master ) - 2003
Etonnant parcours pour ce disque venu de Grèce et signé sous le nom de Sigmatropic, projet musical emmené par Akis
Boyatzis : en 2002, cet album en langue grecque marque la rencontre entre la musique et la poésie de Giorgos Seferis,
lauréat du prix Nobel de littérature dans les années 60. Puis vient l'idée de donner une dimension internationale à cet
album, et c'est ainsi qu'après une traduction des textes en anglais (les premiers écrits de Seferis, dérivés des haiku
japonais), Sigmatropic se voit rejoindre par dix-huit prestigieux invités (dont Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Robert Wyatt, Lee
Ranaldo (Sonic youth), Howe Gelb (Giant sand) ou encore Chan Marshall (Cat power)) pour élaborer une nouvelle version
Sixteen haiku & other stories offre de multiples combinaisons d'instruments et si les morceaux évoluent dans un registre
rock, on notera néanmoins la présence récurrente d'une électronique finalement assez proche du trip hop rencontré sur les
albums d'Andrea Parker. Assez rapidement, on se rend compte que chaque participant n'a pas souffert de réels problèmes
d'adaptation, parvenant à conserver son identité vocale, même plongé dans un environnement musical inhabituel : un point
fort qui permet de maintenir la pertinence des morceaux. Après une introduction signée Robert Wyatt, on entre dans le vif
du sujet avec Laetitia Sadier, qui dans son style si particulier dépeint le Haiku one dans la tradition de ces poèmes d'origine
japonaise : la description de la nature (couleurs, contrastes, saisons...) sur une structure de dix sept syllabes (en trois vers
: 5+7+5). Au fil des titres, la prédominance des textures organiques s'affirme tout en sachant varier les plaisirs, par
exemple lorsqu'un trip hop aux reflets orientaux s'immisce sur l'Haiku three de Mark Mulcahy. L'éventail des ambiances
proposées est large, entre la voix rauque de Mark Eitzel qui glisse sur des nappes atmosphériques (Haiku nine), et les
deux participations mystiques de Lee Ranaldo sur un fond musical minimaliste (Haiku twelve, puis Haiku Sixteen). Mais le
véritable bijou du disque est signé Chan Marshall, qui en seulement 1'20, réchauffe l'album de sa voix incomparable sur
Haiku ten, titre à la mélodie très particulière (au premier abord, cet instrumental guitare/basse aurait même pu paraître
inadapté, mais il n'en est rien). Il manque cependant une certaine cohésion à Sixteen haiku & other stories : l'album souffre
de la variété des timbres de voix et de l'hétérogénéité de la qualité des morceaux, qui conduisent à un enchaînement des
titres parfois difficile. Il n'en reste pas moins que la version internationale de ce projet de Sigmatropic recèle quelques
perles à forte sensualité.
Deux liens pour finir : tout d’abord, le site officiel particulièrement complet, qui propose paroles et extraits :
Et pour en savoir plus sur Giorgos Seferis, le site du Nobel e-museum.
1. Introduction ('On Stage 2') - feat. Robert Wyatt
2. Haiku One - feat. Laetitia Sadier
3. Haiku Two - feat. Martine Roberts
4. Haiku Three ('In The Museum Garden') - feat. Mark Muleahy
5. Haiku Four - feat. Alejandro Escovedo
6. Haiku Five - feat. Carla Torgerson
7. Haiku Six - feat. Carla Torgerson and Akis Boyatzis
8. Haiku Seven - feat. Akis Boyatzis
9. Haiku Eight - feat. Edith Frost
10. Haiku Nine - feat. Mark Eitzel
11. Haiku Ten - feat. Cat Power
12. Haiku Eleven - feat. Simon Joyner
13. Haiku Twelve ('Unprofitable Boat Line') - feat. Lee Ranaldo
14. Haiku Thirteen ('Sick Fury') - feat. Alex Gordon
15. Haiku Fourteen (a) (Sung in Greek) - feat. Akis Boyatzis
16. Haiku Fourteen (b) - feat. John Grant
17. Haiku Fifteen - feat. James William Hindle
18. Haiku Sixteen - feat. Lee Ranaldo
19. Dead Sea ('Log Book II') - feat. James Sclavunos
20. Water Warm ('Sketches for a Summer') - feat. Pinkie Maclure
21. This Human Body - feat. Howe Gelb
22. The Jasmine - feat. Steve Wynn
23. Data track
Autres articles sur Sigmatropic ....
+ news :
Chamber Music et son prestigieux line-up (16-03-2004)
Une compilation très originale sort dans de nombreux pays européens ces jours-ci. Celle-ci est en fait la concrétisation sur
disque d'un projet international initié par les grecs de Sigmatropic ayant invité la crème des artistes indés mondiaux à
interpréter des haïkus (ces fameux poèmes courts et contemplatifs d'origine japonaise bien connus des Dionysos). Ainsi
retrouve-t-on entre autres sur ce "Sixteen Haiku And Other Stories" les voix de la trop rare Carla Torgerson des
Walkabouts, de Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) ou Mark Eitzel. Pour vous consoler de l'absence
de distributeur pour la France (a priori), vous pourrez vous rendre sur le lien cité en source pour écouter plusieurs de ces
Source : http://www.sigmatropic.gr/english/16Haiku_Intern/credits.htm
(le 23-10-2003 par Thomas F.)
Vocalistas invitados: Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Alejandro Escovedo, Carla
Togerson (The Walkabouts), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic
Youth), John Grant (Czars), Cat Power, Mark Eitzel, Edith Frost, Steve Wynn,
CD: 21,80 €
Akis Boyatzis, nucleo permanente y cabeza pensante de la banda, ha elegido el
nombre de Sigmatropic (derivado del de un proceso químico) para firmar su
particular combinación de minimalismo, electrónica ingrávida y aires
mediterráneos. Estos mismos ingredientes son los que conforman el
revestimento sonoro de “Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories”, proyecto concebido
para musicar la poesía de su compatriota George Seferis, Premio Nobel de
Literatura y destacado luchador por la libertad durante la dictadura de
Papadopoulos. Hasta aquí, parece que hablemos de un álbum con poca
capacidad para trascender las fronteras helenas y probablemente así hubiera
sido si la increíblemente bella música compuesta por Boyatzis y el hipnótico
ritmo de la poesía de Seferis no hubiera conseguido seducir a tantos y tantos
artistas que se han mostrado encantados de prestar su apoyo al proyecto.
Hasta dieciocho artistas de primera línea internacional han aceptado hacerse
cargo de las voces para esta edición internacional, íntegramente cantada en
inglés, de “Sixteen Haikus & Other Stories”. El listado de vocalistas impresiona
a simple vista, pero que nadie caiga en el error de pensar que está frente a un
pastiche de excesivas pretensiones intelectuales y con la acumulación de
nombres propios como único atractivo. Todo lo contrario, este disco
impresiona por su seductora delicadeza, por lo envolvente de las
composiciones de Boyatzis y por unas interpretaciones vocales absolutamente
magistrales que nos muestran, en muchos casos, insospechadas facetas de
músicos de sobras conocidos. Si alguien se plantea otorgar premios a las más
gratas sorpresas del año, en Sigmatropic ha encontrado un serio candidato.
o dominio dos deuses_[Portugal]
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 | 0-9
Título: Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories [Enhanced Limited Edition]
Editora: Tongue Master Records
Obs: Distribuição MusicaActiva
Os Sigmatropic são um grupo grego, liderado por Akis Boyatzis, que
conseguiu uma proeza difícil de imaginar: reunir num único disco, ainda
por cima produzido longe dos habituais círculos nodais da produção
pop-rock, nomes incontornáveis da música de qualidade que se faz hoje
em dia como Robert Wyatt, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab, Monade), Carla
Torgerson (Walkabouts, Chris & Carla), Mark Eitzel (American Music
Club), Cat Power, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), James Sclavunos (Nick
Cave & the Bad Seeds, The Vanity Set), Pinkie Maclure, Howe Gelb
(Giant Sand) ou Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), para referir apenas os
Qual o segredo que permitiu reunir toda esta gente?
Por um lado o conceito: musicar a poesia de George Seferis, homem
das letras, grego, que em 1963 foi agraciado com o Nobel da Literatura.
Por outro, a ajuda de Carla Torgerson, que se empenhou pessoalmente
no projecto e ajudou a reunir as vozes convidadadas.
«Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories» gira em torno de Haiku, uma forma
poética japonesa que sugiu no século XVI e que foi adoptada por Seferis
a partir de 1929. Originalmente, um Haiku era um poema curto
constituído por dezassete sílabas numa única linha. Na sua forma
europeia constitui-se em três versos de 5, 7 e 5 sílabas, com a
preocupação adicional de evitar rimas.
Ao longo dos seus dezasseis Haiku, e de quatro outros poemas, a
música dos Sigmatropic surge como o complemento ideal para
adensar as texturas de fundo e para sublinhar o tom maioritariamente
intimista com que os famosos declamadores se entregam à tarefa de
desprender as palavras e de as fazer perdurar.
Um disco que, adoptando um conceito que não é novo, acaba por se
revelar um dos expoentes do género e de audição compulsiva.
* "Haiku 10," Sigmatropic feat. Cat Power
* "Offcell," Pinback
* "In the Thick," Ill Lit
* "New Laboratory Assistant," Sushirobo
* "Jersey Lover," Opti-Grab
* "P.C.B. 98," Dan Sartain
* "Still in Love Song," The Stills
* "Memorial," Explosions in the Sky
* "But For You," Matthew Dear
* "New Year's Eve," The Walkmen
* "Yeah (Stupid Version)," LCD Soundsystem
Участники Stereolab и Sonic Youth Записали Хайку
Ряд видных рок-исполнителей приняли участие в записи альбома на стихи лауреата Нобелевской
премии Джорджа Сефериса (George Seferis), сообщает сайт billboard.com. Альбом, музыку для
которого написал участник проекта Sigmatropic Акис Бояцис (Alis Boyatzis), первоначально вышел в
Греции. Затем необходимые тексты Сефериса были переведены на английский. Международная
версия проекта "Sixteen Haiku And Other Stories" увидит свет 20 января на фирме грамзаписи "Thirsty
Ear". Основа альбома, как ясно из названия, - цикл из шестнадцати хайку Сефериса.
Среди музыкантов, принявших участие в записи альбома, - бывший участник Soft Machine Роберт
Уайатт (Robert Wyatt), Джеймс Склавонос (James Sclavonos) из Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds,
вокалистка Stereolab Летисиа Садье (Laetitia Sadier), Ли Ранальдо (Lee Ranaldo) из Sonic Youth,
Алехандро Эсковедо (Alejandro Escovedo), сам Акис Бояцис и многие другие. Несколько записанных
в ходе работы над проектом композиций выйдут до конца года ограниченным тиражом на
двенадцатидюймовой грампластинке. (Rockmusic.ru)
Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories
ETICHETTA: HITCH-HYKE - WHITE’N’BLACK
ANNO DI PUBBLICAZIONE: 2003
DURATA: 58m 23s
TIPO DI SUPPORTO: CD
1> Introduction (On Stage 2) - feat. Robert Wyatt
2> Haiku One - feat. Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab)
3> Haiku Two - feat. Martine Roberts (Broken Dog)
4> Haiku Three - feat. Mark Mulcahy
5> Haiku Four - feat. Alejandro Escovedo
6> Haiku Five - feat. Carla Torgerson (Walkabouts)
7> Haiku Six - feat. Carla Torgerson and Akis Boyatzis
8> Haiku Seven - feat. Akis Boyatzis
9> Haiku Eight - feat. Edith Frost
10> Haiku Nine - feat. Mark Eitzel
11> Haiku Ten - feat. Cat Power
12> Haiku Eleven - feat. Simon Joyner
13> Haiku Twelve - feat. Lee Renaldo (Sonic Youth)
14> Haiku Thirteen - feat. Alex Gordon (Lincoln)
15> Haiku Fourteen (a) - feat. Akis Boyatzis
16> Haiku Fourteen (b) - feat. John Grant (The Czars)
17> Haiku Fifteen - feat. James William Hindle
18> Haiku Sixteen - feat. Lee Renaldo
19> Dead Sea - feat. James Sclavunos (Bad Seeds)
20> Water Warm - feat. Pinkie Maclure
21> This Human Body - feat. Howe Gelb
22> The Jasmine - feat. Steve Wynn
Davvero un lavoro interessante quello svolto dai Sigmatropic, una band greca che ha
deciso di realizzare un album utilizzando gli haiku ed altri scritti del poeta George
Seferis. La strumentazione utilizzata dal gruppo è un melting pot di tradizione (archi,
mandolino, pianoforte, glockenspiel…) e modernità (programmazioni, synths e
trattamenti elettronici), il risultato ottenuto è altamente suggestivo, nettamente
superiore ai lavori di moderna etnicità oggi in voga. “Sixteen Haiku & Other Stories” si
muove con sicurezza nella terra di mezzo tra il “folk” ed il “dub”, un suono attuale che
non distrugge la tradizione ma ne amplia i canoni con passione ed umiltà.
Uno dei tratti distintivi dell’album è la partecipazione di guest vocals d’eccezione:
Robert Wyatt, Howe Gelb, Steve Wynn, Mark Eitzel, Cat Power, Edith Frost ed ancora
le voci di Stereolab, Walkabouts, Lincoln, The Czars, Sonic Youth ed altri ancora.
Le ventidue tracce si susseguono velocemente caratterizzandosi per la spontanea ed
ispirata scrittura, difficile quindi citare un brano a discapito di altri anche se “This
Human Body” e “Haiku Thirteen” emergono grazie allo splendido lavoro di Howe Gelb e
Un’opera atipica, sfuggente ed a suo modo unica.
[Lodo "incostituzionale" Schifani]
[ [email protected] ]