label: near the exit music
Cat. No.: NTEMCD001
release date: 01/08/2010
fos is releasing her second album rock on the artist's own label, near the exit music.
fos is the music project of London based Greek artist Katerina Koutouzi.
“london based greek artist katerina koutouzi's fos project is a blissed out avant folk-pop revelation. a masterful piece of work that weaves conch, accordion, harmonium, glock, piano and electronic elements into a flowing meditation of oceanic push and pull. one could draw comparisons with kate bush but not in a shallow, cursory way: koutouzi's magpie approach to sound sees sea shanties, greek folk songs, piano stillness and even chill wave beats splashed with samples and pop hooks the way kate did on the second side of 'hounds of love.' the music is inspired by the rhythm of the sea; the mythical dimensions of natural sounds, like the striking of pebbles or the sound of waves and the crying of seagulls, the drumming of a daouli all manipulated by electronic means into a thing of wonder.”
“Philthy of Leeds, a semi-reliable trader in tatty ephemera & knock-off phones, recommended this CD to me. He said it's "brilliant". Not one to dismiss the burbling's of such a learned local celebrity, i've undertaken the "special procedure" for the duration of the course of the listening period for which I am obliged to critically examine the contents of this compact disc. This includes finding a room where there are no other guffawing arm-wrestling colleagues, poorly animals or actual human beings and hiding in the corner whilst placing unsightly headphonicular equipment on your bonce. This is where Katerina Koutouzi's world flows into mine. Ah bliss! 'Rock' consists of truly stirring stuff that reminds me heavily of the later Parisian-flecked Beirut gear, Big Eyes and Hey-O-Hansen. This London dwelling Greek lady infuses her homely traditional instrumentation with gorgeous field recordings taken from a very relaxing sounding coastline - all lashing waves & processed samples of seagulls crawing away! By the time 'With the Seagulls I' drops, an ecstatic, skittering ambient form of electronica barges into the mix which plays beautiful havok with the seagulls. I like the playful beats she deploys on some later tracks, they serve the largely organic nature of her arsenal of instruments incredibly well. This CD has a very natural, calming soul & is wonderfully presented, something a bit home-spun & completely charming about it plus the music is tops. Thanks Katerina!”
"Modern meets traditional on this slice of Greek folktronica...The album flickers between the traditional and contemporary. Opening track ‘Sunset’ is ultra-modern with its overlapping, Art Of Noise-esque, vocal samples. Then it’s back to her roots on ‘Thalassa Platia’. To think she called the record Rock! We should put the rock music genre out of our minds and think instead along the lines of folktronica, where the folk element is of traditional, Aegean island variety. In fact, the sea plays a huge role on Rock, as it does for any coastal community. I imagine the ‘rock’ is question is some kind of nautical outcropping, or at least a psychological point of stability in a shifting, uncertain environment....These pieces are crafted with a huge degree of skill...Maybe this record is better understood as a piece of art – performance art, captured on a recording?....Fos may have a niche audience but I’ll wager that those fans will find much of this music delightful."
"If you want something done right, do it yourself. London-based Greek artist Katerina Koutouzi (fos) plays all the instruments on rock; she records, arranges, produces, mixes, and provides the cover art. The album is released on her own label. She sends out her own press releases. Any criticism that is levied will be hers alone; and praise that is lavished will be hers as well. This is indeed a labor of love, and an extremely professional effort given the lack of collaboration. She seems to be a bright and cheerful person, and likely has many friends; however, she prefers to work alone.
Perhaps work is the wrong word to apply here, as the album itself is brash and playful. rock is a summer holiday captured on disc, relentlessly upbeat and magically diverse. It takes only a few seconds for the first wave sample to crash, and many more will follow, along with echoed seagulls and the sounds of vacationers at play.
The album is happy, but it's not subtle. The production value is so crisp that it sounds live, with every sound - daouli, conch, footsteps on sand - leaping from the speakers. There is a lot going on, but nothing is hidden; it is as if the noonday sun has burned through the clouds and eliminated all of the shadows. Because so much of the mix is upfront, the album sounds immediate, almost to the point of being confrontational. These are the loudest birds since The Cure's "Like Cockatoos", and they seem to be in constant motion, left to right and back again.
fos often uses her voice in onomatopoeic fashion, but occasionally sings; a translation sheet would have been welcome, but is easily accessible on the artist's website. Her voice is sweet and unwavering. She is surrounded, like a child among beach toys, by her own tools: drum programming: piano, accordion and 'found' instruments such as pebbles and conch. At times, especially on the 132bpm "with the seagulls I", her wet electronic patterns are reminiscent of those used by Eurythmics. Only on the opening track, "sunset", does the tone turn slightly melancholic; with its lyrical piano, mid-tempo beats and sparse lyrics, it simultaneously brings to mind Supertramp's album track, "Don't Leave Me Now" and Way Out West's classic 12", The Fall.
This album is not for everyone, and it probably won't sound as good in the winter. It is a beach ball, body surfing, plastic pail and shovel of an album, happy to towel off before rushing gleefully and non-sensically back into the surf. But there is little to fault, save for perhaps a few too many birds and one abrupt ending (Track 4). By the time the closing melodica and chimes of "in harmony" have faded, most listeners will be happier than they had been 37 and a half minutes earlier; and there's not much more than one can ask of an album."
The Silent Ballet
About rock: Realizations at sea and emotional states expressed through seagulls.
There is a sense of a healing process and in the final song everything turns into water surrounding one like an embryo in "the deepest blue".
Katerina Koutouzi comes from Kalymnos, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. She spent her childhood years on the island and her teenage years in Athens. She studied Dance Theatre and Music Technology in London where she now lives and works while she is writing, performing and producing her own work.
rock can be bought as a physical CD at the near the exit music shop, at the Rough Trade Shops, at Norman Records, Experimedia and as a download on i tunes and Amazon mp3.