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Yannis Kyriakides: Resorts & Ruins

img  Tobias Fischer

Sometimes, an entire life can hinge on a single moment. In July 1974, four-year-young Yannis Kyriakides was spending time with his family at the Cypriotic seaside resort of Famagusta when the Turkish army started a series of bombings. To the composer as a little boy, the attacks initially meant little more than spending a few boring hours in the basement-turned-air-raid-shelter of their hotel. But already a month later, the invasion set in and a blossoming town was sealed off from the island with barbed wire. The events would reverberate. After leaving Cyprus, Kyriakides spent years travelling Greece with his violin to find clues about his identity in the country's rich folk heritage. On "Varosha", the center piece of Resorts & Ruins and inspired by a return to Famagusta in 2008, when he gazed at derilict buildings through the  fences, he has finally managed to turn his sentiments into sound. Composed of suggestive noises, disembodied rhythms and the voice of Ayelet Harpaz, who adds cool, matter-of-fact descriptions about "windows left open" and "blown-in sand in the lobby", it has turned into an imposing, thirty-minute long canvas somewhere between a radio play, an installation soundtrack and a Cage'ean opera, a soft fantasy of desire and sorrow, a fusion of documentary, dream and nightmare. Popular pop tunes from the era of the attacks come drifting into the sonic picture, then fade away again, concrete siren wailings taking turns with metaphoric fields of cut-up vocals, as though Kyriakides were absentmindedly turning the dial of his subconsciousness's radio. The prevailing sensation, however, is not one of constant change, but of stasis: In the composer's mind, time has been suspended and the place is still lively and well – in reality, however, it has progressed in time, while life within it has come to a halt. Kyriakides has composed a still-life with an infinitely refined brush and his position as a quasi-neutral observer rather than accuser only serves to increase its intensity: Behind the painful facts, a personal fate becomes palpable, sowing the seed of the political.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Yannis Kyriakides
Homepage: Unsounds Records