Nowhere does the music critic’s capacity feel more impaired than in the company of artists who operate in the great, wide abstract of experimental, avant-garde or alternative design. Those who deliberately construct an impenetrable divide between themselves and their art as a way of accessing real expression. Greg E [nonsegmental], a Greek musician based in London has added another deep-bodied work to his catalogue with the intention of finding meaning in soundscapes that speak to his own state, as well as our troubled times. Greg has enjoyed a successful career in the contemporary classical music scene as a composer (including collaboration with the LSO, London Sinfonietta, and the Greek National Opera, etc.), and is also a regular collaborator in theatre, dance, and multimedia projects as sound designer.
“2020 Dreams” the instrumental EP project by Greg E [nonsegmental], was constructed using a new sonic language and ideas that were developed for two independent theatre and dance projects, during the lockdown period: ‘An Ice Thing To Say’ by Vertebra Theatre premiered at the Reykjavik Fringe Festival, and ‘Duelo por un tiempo que una vez fue’ part of Reactivos Culturales (Murcia, Spain) by Piedad Albarracin Seiquer.
It helps to look at the ways in which the music of Greg E [nonsegmental] creates the illusion of a natural landscape – from “Water: Our Meeting”, to “Earth: In The Frame”, and “Air: Piercing” to “Fire: Raging”, and how it sets itself up to narrate its daunting account without organic instruments, lyrics or vocals. Instead Greg E [nonsegmental] makes use of synths and field recordings.
Once inside the confines of “2020 Dreams”, we can start to appreciate the improvised and creative techniques used by Greg E [nonsegmental] to venture across the intimidating gap between the actual state of the world, and his own personal perspective. Everything we need to know to understand this EP project, is contained within its sonic envelope.
It’s a fantastic and rare thing to create your own voice in electronic music, and that’s what Greg E [nonsegmental] has ultimately achieved through these tracks. He builds tracks up from a foundational field recording, and evolves from there. Evident traces of melody and rhythm do emerge to the fore, but they are not always fundamental to the messages Greg E [nonsegmental] is communicating.
Having said that, melody and rhythm do play a rather important part of the opening track “Water: Our Meeting”, which also features the field recording, of the ebb and flow of swelling waves. Here the crunchy guitars and determined drumming, actively pushes the momentum of the composition.
The throb and drone of “Earth: In The Frame” shifts pitches and timbres amidst constantly changing atmospheres. And while the tune hardly changes, it doesn’t need to. It’s the eerie quality and menacing depth of the sounds which keep the audience engaged. It has a mesmerizing effect that locks the listener in.
Built on the field recording of a steam train, “Air: Piercing” is in constant motion. Unique and beautiful contours appear and disappear, smeared into the sounds of locomotive pulling power, meant to magnetize, hypnotize and charm the mind into complete submission
There’s truly a wide range of emotions on “Fire: Raging”, which presents a brooding, pensive synthetic atmosphere that seems to want to swallow everything that listens to it. Slowly but steadily a drumbeat emerges to add tempo to the timbre, as the suspenseful progression and urgency pushes forward.
“2020 Dreams” is a reflective, intimate, and complex EP, one which will resonate with your inner being as you imagine the outside world float by, consumed with its stories, images, and sounds. A highly recommended release for the open-minded.