Sissi Rada – Maps feat. Lena Platonos
On November 19th Gomma records’ new offshoot imprint Kryptox presents ‘Nanodiamond’ – the enchanting album by Athenian harpist, singer, electronic alchemist and star-in-waiting Sissi Rada. It features co-production by Brian Eno and Andi Toma of Mouse on Mars, with guest vocals from cult Greek heroine Lena Platonos.
Abstract and experimental but not difficult, instead the record is a friendly good trip, like a strage but pleasant dream, or an endorphin-fuelled flight through the cosmos. This treasure trove of glowing Aegean beauty entices listeners to luxuriate in its balmy georgeousness, where rich vocals reverberate inside sparkling, jewel-encrusted grottos of sound.
Although standout and singular, Rada’s unclassifiable leftfield songs bring to mind the likes of Kate Bush, Van Dyke Parks, ‘Kid A’ era Radiohead, Katie Gately and Georgia’s ‘All Kind Music’. Atmospherically, there’s a kinship with Coil, Karen Gwyer and Deux Filles, whilst her magical harp draws contemporary links to Mary Lattimore and Brandee Younger, plus historical nods to Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane.
In addition to making weird-and-wonderful works such as this, Sissi is also one of the best classical harpists in Europe. She is a member of the New York Times endorsed Teodor Currentzis’ musicAeterna orchestra, and frequently collaborates with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Sissi combines skills in writing that only musicians with huge knowledge and compositional ability have, with an intuitive approach to electronics that’s creative, but not technically advanced. She incorporates lo-fi, noisy textures, random samples and raw sound design, which, when combined with her voice and instrument, merge and become sumptuous.
The melodic, harmonic and sonic concepts of ‘Nanodiamond’ are routed in an impressionistic heritage which is a favorite of her’s (and many of the great Russian classical composers too). Like impressionist paintings, this is based on eschewing exactitude, and instead using unconventional techniques to capture a feeling.
Rada met Brian Eno while both were working in Paris for the world premiere of Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s ambitious film / installation project, ‘DAU’. They ended up performing together at a late-night impromptu show, involving Eno and members of Orchestra MusicAeterna, at Théâtre de la Ville. He liked what Sissi did and invited her to his studio. Their collaboration on album track ‘81948 (2000 OM69)’ “just happened”, when she began improvising on one of his keyboards.
Sissi was born in Athens, studied in Amsterdam and Berlin (at Universität der Künste), and has since lived in Berlin, where she met Andi Thoma in the city’s fertile underground scene.
A1) ‘Karaburun Peninsula’ A2) ‘Athena’ A3) ‘Nanodiamond’A4) ‘Maps’ featuring Lena Platonos (produced by Andi Toma) A5) ‘Ichthys’ A6) ‘Pyrametron’ A7) ‘Debris’B1) ‘Too La’ B2) ‘Φ ‘B3) ‘81948 (2000 OM69)’ (produced by Brian Eno) B4) ‘Blueblack Tomb’ (produced by Andi Toma) B5) ‘Sorrow’ B6) ‘Elegierig’