Elena Colombi created the label Osàre! Editions in 2019 to shine a light on daring and future-facing artists "rooted in free-spirited musical abandon". Her releases are deeply thought through and represent a unique and refreshing approach to music, therefore it isn't surprising that "A Retrospective" by Thanasis Zlatanos has caught our eye for Record Of The Week. This compilation album has been prepared by Elena and Zlatanos, pulling tracks from his previous work to shine a light on an inventive and imaginative artist who has previously been overlooked.
"A Retrospective" links genres while simultaneously obliterating the need for them altogether. Wave, pop, ambient, proto electronic and Macedonian folk music are all heard, but the overall tone is something that certainly cannot be put in a box. The album's opening track, "Master Chameleon", has a plinky melody that takes you into a dreamy daze alongside a grounding, darker sounding synth. "Nor The Reflection" is rough around the edges, with effortless wave-style vocals and a Lo-Fi sound. The third track of the album, "Without us" is dramatic and theatrical. The folky voice, over heavy percussion, is suddenly interrupted by a grounding vocal. "Psychedelic Clown" is slightly offbeat, giving a feeling of confusion and slight creepiness, something the title already adheres to. This is one of my personal favourites from the album, it's weirdness is on a different level and it sounds like nothing I've heard before. Time to chill out a bit, with "The Crystal Sight (Excerpt II)", the ambience is ghostly but calming and beautiful. The next track is titled (and sounds) "Distorted". It maintains a sereness but in an intrusive way that conjures the image of a weird hymn.
The slow-paced, undulating eerieness of "Surreal Moment", blends perfectly into the warping continuum and beautifully quirky lyrics of "No Explanation", which sounds like a trippy pop song for the early hours and is another personal favourite. "The Crystal Sight (Excerpt I)" isn't at all similar to its sibling track. It has more of a new-age electronica feel, with a futuristic, space-like vibe, clinking and plinking into a satisfying abyss. "The Dead Don't Remember" is wonderfully robotic, again with a hymn feel and lyrics that sound like a mantra. "The New Barbarians" is Vocoder-laden, operatic, performative and marvellous. "Macedonian" is heartbreaking. The melody feels hopeful and agonising simultaneously. The album concludes with "The Light", a guitar solo piece that is completed with electronic-effects that make it, like most of the tracks on this album, unlike anything else. Listen to "A Retrospective" in one sitting and you will be taken on a journey into part of your brain that is rarely visited. It is truly a masterpiece, Thanasis Zlatanos and Elena Colombi both deserve praise and left no question in our mind when choosing Record of the week (KAT).