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’
Berlin based Greek singer-songwriter and harpist Sissi Rada just released her adventurous album debut Pragma, on November 25th via Inner Ear Records. Maybe you know her from David August’s single Patria. Also, she has performed with David in Electronic Beats Festival Cologne 2015 and XJazz Festival Berlin 2015. The album produced by Max Trieder (The Hirsch Effekt).
Stream the entire album:
It took two years to compose and produce “Pragma”, which is the answer to her self released split EP “Personae”, released in 2013. The recordings took place in Berlin and Athens with her permanent collaborator and producer, Max Trieder. The album features guest appearances from artists who have contributed in many ways to the identity of SIssi Rada: Camerata Athens Quartet, Sergiu Nastaza (solo violin), Niklas Lutterbach (soundscape) and Florian Bitzer, Sebastian Meyer and Constanze Trieder (wind instruments).
This thematic album is an attempt to highlight the sensitivity of the things that surround us. It deals with the universal word “pragma” and its various uses and delves into the psychic bond of modern man with symbols, symbolism and referentiality. Bilingual lyrics underline the multi-culture of the times and the common words our unisexual root. Music-wise, it is hard to describe the sound of Sissi Rada for the reason that pop, electronic and classical elements blend in a unique way to create an equally unique genre that she calls coquettish-classical-electro-d oom pop.
Sissi Rada began studying the harp at the age of 11 and completed her post-graduate studies in Europe in 2016 (Bachelor in Music/ Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Master in solistic music/ Hochschule für Musik Detmold, Master in Orchestra/ Universität der Künste Berlin). Since 2012 she collaborates with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim, Matthias Pintscher, the Athens State Orchestra and the Greek National Opera. In 2013 she released her first ΕΡ of electronic music, entitled “Personae” and she began her collaborations with various artists such as David August, Kadebostany, Lena Platonos and Foivos Delivorias. In 2015 she was the supporting act for Deerhoof.
After half a year of work from the first shoot and to the last renderings here’s the new video for the great SISSI RADA (aka Anastasia Sissy Makropoulou, Max Trieder, Tom Krause and Eugen Rolnik). It has all what a good music-clip should have: Donuts, cars, kids on bikes, a harp, a giant foot, a miniature drum set and skateboard-stunts. And of course a black cat.
Shot completely with the Microsoft Kinect 2, edited and programmed in VVVV, developed a pipeline between Cinema4D and VVVV and finalized everything in After Effects.
SUNDAY is a track from the unreleased album PRAGMA.
German producer David Nattkemper, aka David August, offers for free a great downtempo house track called “Patria” with Greek lyrics. Featuring vocals from Sissi Rada.
“Last year I met Sissi Rada. She was singing in Greek and playing the harp when I first listened to her.
I asked her to record something with me as I wanted to use her voice for my music. We sat down, I played the harmonies on my Prophet 5 and she would jam over it. Her first take is the take you’re listening to. Back then I was in my bedroom studio. We had noises from the street, roommates the next door, but the take captured the magic and the spontaneous moment of just doing music. I didn’t want to record it again.
Her lyrics are about the devastating political and financial situation in Greece and I tried – as much as I could do – to reflect that with my music.” – David August
Η πατρίδα μου
χώματα και θάλασσα και φρούτα
σ’ αεροπορικά εισιτήρια
Αέρα σου στρωσα και λούσα
Η πατρίδα μου
αμβλώνεται και κουράζει
με αλλονών τύπους
χώματα και θάλασσα και φρούτα