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INTO THE LIGHT

For the latest release in their ongoing ‘International’ series, Into The Light Records takes us to Sydney and the dreamy, softly spun musical world of talented multi-instrumentalist Max Santilli.

“Surface” is Santilli’s debut album following years spent working alongside Jacob Fugar in Ken Oath Records-signed downtempo duo Angophora. It draws on a personal archive of home recordings made between 2016 and 2018 using a range of guitars, synthesizers and acoustic percussion instruments.

As you’d perhaps expect, it’s an intimate and hugely personal set that wraps drowsy, slowly shifting musical flourishes around gentle, sun-kissed rhythms and suitably spacey chords. Santilli offers subtle nods towards his various inspirations – think the mesmerizing ambient-jazz fusion of Michael Bierylo, Steve Hillage’s timeless early ambient works and the intricate acoustic guitar playing of Steve Tibbetts and Miguel Herrero – while forging his own distinctly lo-fi and otherworldly path. As a result, “Surface” is an album of impressive depth and diversity, held together by Santilli’s reflective, emotion-rich vision.

Over the last decade, we’ve come accustomed to Jason Letkiewicz releasing material under a dizzying array of aliases, each utilized to explore a different side of his multi-faceted musical persona. Now, some 14 years after he made his recording debut alongside Ari Goldman as Manhunter, Letkiewicz has joined forces with Into The Light Records to release his first album under his real name.

"The Reflecting Pool" sees Letkiewicz exploring the uncomplicated and uncluttered in the pursuit of pure aural beauty. While his recent album as Opposing Currents was dense, dark, urban and industrial, "The Reflecting Pool" is stripped back, quiet and melodious. The contrast between the two projects is marked, with "The Reflecting Pool" drawing more on Letkiewicz’s love of crystalline ambient, slow burn synthesizer soundscapes, early ’80s library music and the kind of obscure electronic new age music that has been a hallmark of Into The Light’s releases to date.

The set’s 12 tracks gently ebb and flow, with Letkiewicz making great use of dusty old drum machines, effects units and a range of vintage analogue and digital synthesizers. It’s a set-up that results in a range of complimentary mood pieces and interludes, from the delay-laden military drums and lilting lead lines of “Out of Body Experiences”, to the drowsy, sunrise bliss of “Sunspot”, the bubbling Tangerine Dream style shuffle of “Mind Awake Body Asleep” and the outer-space atmosphere of “The Kill Fee”.

Throughout, Letkiewicz showcases his seemingly intrinsic grasp of mood, atmosphere and melody. It can be heard within the glacial guitar motifs, occasional beats and elongated chords of “The Reflecting Pool”, the rhythmic bustle of “Numb Drums”, the glassy-eyed melancholia of “Arhythmia” and the cinematic paranoia of “Burning Off The Morning Fog”. It’s also evident amongst the classically beat-less ambient of closing cut “Weightless”, whose alien electronics, effects-laden pulses and opaque chords recall established masters of the genre.

With "The Reflecting Pool", Letkiewicz has provided us with a much-needed dose of stress-free musical escapism, at the same time offering hope that in these troubling times, love may still save the day.

Buoyed by the success of "Endless", their 2015 primer on forgotten electronic explorer Dimitris Petsetakis, Into The Light Records has worked with the Greek composer to compile a follow-up album that takes an even deeper dive into his archive of previously unreleased material. Like its predecessor, "On Shores" draws on music recorded in the 1980s and early ‘90s. It contains just two previous released tracks, the humid “Clearance (Part 2)” and poignant “On Endless Shores”, both of which first featured on Petsetakis’s cult 1991 album "Missing Links".

"On Shores" offers another unparalleled insight into the picturesque and atmospheric soundscapes created in the Piraeus-based composer’s basement studio using a mixture of electronic and acoustic instruments, a wide range of global influences and a keen interest in both minimalism and new age ambience. Listeners will encounter a range of stunningly beautiful and beguiling compositions, from the creepy, slow-burn exoticism of “Pythia’s Dance” and rhythmic, otherworldly escapism of “Violated Asylum”, to the gentle bliss of “Like a Knife” and sun-bright joy of “Nearxi (Minimal Marimba Edit)”.

Athens based composer Akis Daoutis (Akis) remixed by Tolouse Low Trax, Bartosz Kruczyński, Benoit B and K100 Signal. Excited? You should be...

Our favourite chain-smoking German, TLT kicks off the release with one of his typically rhythmic, haunted and disjointed numbers, working his magic on "Into The Light". Utilizing the hypnotic marimba lines contained within, this new EBM iconoclast turns out a version as strong as anything off his acclaimed "Rushing To Paradise" EP - essential!

Benoit B works "Ecological Awareness" into a celestial ascension, accentuating the spectral sound of the marimba with chiming, glassy synth notes that seem to spiral up to the heavens. If there's a Balearic island on planet Pluto then they it's local inhabitants will no doubt be getting fresh and fruity to sounds like this.

K100 Signal revisits the same track, and ushers a creeping vintage drum beat into play, whilst swamping the stems with long, reverb-heavy guitar line and reversed strings for a very psychedelic outing that would find favour with DJs like Eric Duncan, The Idjuts, Mudd & Harvey.

Finally, Bartosz Kruczynski deploys a nothing short of sublime rendition of "Into The Light"; toying with those echoed-out marimba passages and smothering them in the most voluptuous pad size since Kim Kardashian started playing keyboards (ed - she doesn't play keyboards!). This is high grade horizontal listening pop pickers and more than deserved of some deeeep listening.

4 out of 4 then! You need? You betcha!



Bartosz Kruczynski & Poly Chain

Pulses

For the second installment of their international parallel series, Into The Light Records treat us with seven lush, rich and warm recordings by currently Warsaw-based producers Sasha Zakrevska (Poly Chain) and Bartosz Kruczynski.
Soon after releasing their debut albums - Baltic Beat’ and ‘Music For Candy Shops’ - and realizing similar interests and traits in their solo music, Zakrevska and Kruczynski sketched out a plan for an album and live performance. The record is to a large extent fashioned after the show, with most of the tracks performed live and edited down. ’Pulses’ is a result of hours spent in studio with a minimal set-up of Prophet ’08, Moog Sub 37 and Korg Minilogue, detailing their mutual attraction to minimal synth, repetitive arpeggios and drone music. A perfect blend of poly-rhythmic patterns, ambient textures and beat-less acid moments by one of the most fresh and unique collaborations!

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Moving their attention away from Greece, Into The Light present the collaborative debut from Polish musicians Bartosz Kruczynski & Poly Chain, who lock us into Berlin school electronics, trance inducing sequences and atmospheric synthscapes. Ear candy for sofa surfers everywhere.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: One copy available

Into The Light take another trip into the annals of Greek electronica, stopping by Akis' Athenian home for a special 12" treat. Though last year's "Space, Time And Beyond" anthology was a fairly exhaustive (and frankly brilliant set), it all but ignored the composer's contributions to the Greek house scene, most notably Aegean anthem "Giant Step", released under the D.E. moniker. This slice of early nineties action sweeps through baroque string arrangements, slow rolling breakbeats and acid-tinged undulations, coming on like an extra ethnic relation of Tranquility Bass. Beaty yet breezy, this coastal killer is a classic in Greece, and more than deserves wider attention. If that wasn't enough to have you snatching a copy, the flip hits us with an earlier 80's demo version, recorded round Vangelis Katsoulis' gaff. To be honest, though they share the same name, the two tracks couldn't be further apart, the "Demo" mix ditching the breakbeat and colling flute trills in favour of Laswell style bass, unconventional percussion and outrageous sampler abuse. Explosions, machine gun fire, concerned chickens and arcade game idents all rebound around the soundstage, decorating the consistently off-kilter rhythm section until the woodwinds, mallets and arps take us skywards.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Yet another killer on the Into The Light imprint, as they follow their Akis anthology with a 12" of his club leaning compositions. The A-side plays host to the Balearic breakbeat of Aegean classic "Giant Step", while the B-side brings us the sampler-driven proto house strangeness of an 80's demo version - leftfield gold if ever I heard it.

Angelo Ioakimoglu

The Nireus Years (1995 - 1997)

Into the Light continues its journey to unearth and update overlooked Greek music. This time out the focus is on a smooth, warm, youthful yet intelligent work that finds effortlessly its place in the tiny Greek electronic scene of the mid 90's. "The Nireus Years" is a rare selection of eight unheard home recordings produced between 1995 and 1997 by the then 16-year old Angelo Ioakimoglu in Athens. The album encompasses his most special productions ranging from bucolic new age to dubbed out midi electronics, jazzy r&b to Mediterranean ambient trance - in other words, it's as Balearic as Moonboots' sandals.

Angelo was born and raised in Zografou area of Greece's capital in 1981. It was there where his father had a typical 80's electronic lab and it was that specific environment where Angelo spent most of early childhood. A first attraction for electronic musical equipment was developed that very soon became a passion for hunting down used pieces of gear soon to form the basis of his well equipped bedroom setup.

During his teens, his connection with music was either practicing the piano at home or listening to the most recent dance hits at his uncle's place who happened to be a professional DJ. Big part of Angelo's demos around that period is driven by those two aforementioned worlds. But there were moments of escape. Moments where the music went for the unexpected. Leaving the producer following a solitary path where he could express his teenage dreams and fantasies...through extensive midi programming, live keyboards mimicking string, brass and steel instruments and sampled portions of his live percussion burst.

Angelo's work, which can sometimes seem naive or surrealistic, is supported by his unique and surprisingly energetic approach, one that gives us the courage to continue something different. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Into The Light dig deep into the Greek underground to turn up this ace set of smooth and sensual electronics from the then teenage Angelo Ioakimoglu. Combining downbeat, new age, R&B and the most mellow house imaginable, Iokimoglu sounds like a Mediterranean Larry Heard - how's that for Balearic. Check "Slide Break" and tell me I'm wrong...

After taking a little time out to find the perfect beat, Ilias and Tako deliver the sixth Into The Light release, "Break at Home", the collected recordings of 2 Katara. Formed in Athens, Greece in 1978 by George Theodorakis and close friend Dimitris Papangelidis (bass, guitars, percussion, vocals) this musical-duo recorded quietly over a decade between Theodorakis’ family idyllic home studio in the Philopappou hill of Athens and the nearby studios Theta and SR. For some part, the tracks seem like adventurous experiments or even unfinished samplers or riffs the band starts to develop, but at the same time there are productions that are clearly meant to be the backbone of an album that never came out.
Now Into The Light treat us to 14 sun-soaked productions from the above-mentioned sterling material from 1981 until 1991 where the band split. This sixth installment is meant to be enjoyed as a journey from proggy pop to TR-909 drum driving compositions to Mediterranean disco-not-disco and further futuristic synth-scapes.
The many elements from the Greek traditional folk music (especially in ‘I Can Not’ which is an ambient take on a folk lament song from Epirus area and the reverse play recording of a Greek orthodox priest chant on their last ever recorded epic 17min track ‘Greek lady’), the unusual but clever combinations of colorful styles and the intense improvisation put the group in the first line of Athens’ best kept secrets.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Now here's something for fans of synth weirdness, blurred genre and almost house! Plucked from unreleased work from 81 to 91, this warped fusion of sampler, guitar and electronics is the wavey-est thing I've heard in ages. If you've copped the recent reissues from Growing Bin, MFM or Freedom To Spend, then you'll have plenty of fun with this one.

Akis

Space, Time And Beyond - Selected Works 1986 - 2013

    What a time to be alive! Despite all manner of geo-political tomfuckery clattering from country to country, the music lovers out there continue to put their all into reviving the finest lost sounds for the good of mankind. Into the Light continue their contribution to world peace with a splendid assemblage of 17 tracks of mostly previously unheard material by Athens based composer Akis Daoutis, recorded wither in his hometown or during his time studying in the USA in the mid-eighties.
    Tracing a line through the stylistic changes in his career, the tracklist spans thirty years of compositions, "Christmas" being the earliest recording (1986) and the closing track "My Haunting Sins" the most recent (2016). Aside from the two inclusions from his elusive "Into the Light" LP (worth the entry fee alone), "Space, Time and Beyond" includes some really special features, namely three tracks from his ultra rare "Akis Love" cassette tape that was released privately and only in 100 limited copies. Moreover you can find two extracts from his 40 minute one take suite "New Age Rising". This collection perfectly showcases the full diversity and flawless quality of Akis' thrity year career, shifting from hypnotic ambience to dark and unwordly explorations using Xenakis' UPIC musical tool, and from his late 90s/early 00s soundtrack contributions back to new age lift music for a brighter societal future. Clear a little space on your shelf and welcome this genius in your life.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Look, the world might be going to shit all around us, but when the needle hits that deep groove, this LP will provide a lifetime of brain-smoothing and soul soothing with it's primal frequencies and cleansing tones.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP Info: One copy found


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