Sunday, 5 February 2012

An Introduction to Othon Mataragas

I was just looking at my blog and was astonished how little it reflects me. I keep writing about pop. It's so easy to write about it, to criticise it, to have an opinion. But while I do like pop music, it's by far not the only kind of music I listen to. There's so much more I love, probably even more passionately than the few entries here would show. So, from now on I'll try to keep this blog a bit more balanced. And here's the first step.

Let me introduce you to a Greek, London-based composer, songwriter and pianist Othon. I suppose he's as un-pop as you can get but I would be lying it wasn't the melodic, pop aspects of his music which initially drew me to him. I discovered Othon thanks to my subscription to Cherry Red Records newsletter - which in turn I discovered because it's the label home to one of my favourite artists ever - Marc Almond. Marc has also become a collaborator of Othon's in the past few years but for some reason I hadn't really noticed Othon until Cherry Records sent me an e-mail about his newest album - Impermanence.

I suppose I could blab about some similarities between the work of Antony and the Johnsons or Rufus Wainwright, who are piano-playing & pretty queer but also well known, I could compare Othon to Baby Dee who you'll probably only know if you're really on the queer side (queer meaning different, not necessarily LGBTQueer) or a harcore Marc Almond fan...but the truth is Othon Mataragas is not quite comparable to any of them. If I write his music is part classical, part pop, part opera (esp. thanks to his permanent collaborator, singer Ernesto Tomasini, see below pic), part cabaret and part film soundtrack you'd go: oh, I've heard that combo before but unless you have actually heard Othon's work, you have no idea.

Perhaps even I have no idea. I'm 100% sure I intellectually only get about 10% of what Othon is about (he calls his style PAN muzik), but I just connect to something in his music on probably a whole different level.

I'm not gonna attempt to get into any pseudo-bullshit analysis I'm just writing this entry to let you know that if you like your music a bit different and your artists truly original, Othon might be your favourite new artist you've never heard of.

Two very interesting recent interviews with Othon:

Othon's website:
Othon's Facebook:
Othon's Twitter:!/OthonMataragas

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