Stray Cats Dream (Sargasso)

In the follow-up to his ‘Clouds That I Like’ album Greek composer Basil Athanasiadis continues his exploration of the Japanese/Zen aesthetic concept of ‘wabi-sabi’, an ambiguous and complex principle roughly translatable as ‘simplicity, emptiness, humility, primitiveness, impermanence, unpretentiousness’.

Performers, Shie Shoji (voice) Naomi Sato (sho), Keiko Hisamoto (koto), Stelios Chatziiosifidis & Momoko Yamada (violin), Taka Masuda (flute), Junko Nakamura & Evgenia Votanopoulou (piano)

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Japanese traditional instruments such as the sho and the 20-stringed koto, are intrinsically connected to the wabi-sabi idea, infusing natural beauty into seemingly simple musical gestures, and, in Athanasiadis hands, become the perfect vehicles for a thoroughly contemporary musical investigation.Shortly after the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster Athanasiadis received a two-year award from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to support his Fellowship at the Tokyo University of the Arts and Music. As a result, these six compositions, recorded in Tokyo. Despite the playfulness of some of the titles, this collection of pieces is suffused with bittersweet emotions that, like the wabi-sabi attitude, reveal the complexities found in the stillness of the human spirit.