Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5
This album comes to us via the rocky hills of Greece. Although I have no idea how to say their band name, I can say that this is a solid collection of music that needs more exposure. Throughout the span of this double album, Fantastikoi Hxoi sends us careening through shoegazing, metronomic kraut rock, straight-up psychedelia, and what I believe is a touch of Greek folk music. All of this is paired up with some pristine production that rarely sounds cheap and presents very professional sound textures. Texture is paramount here; there is not much in the way of pop song structure, and I see most of these tracks as sound paintings.
In all truthfulness, this is one of those double albums that would probably work better as one, but there are plenty of highlights to sink your teeth into. After a short intro, "Aggeloi" presents itself as a quintessential electronic shoegazing track. Also of note on the first disc is the Greek freak folk of "Mayrh Trypta," which eventually devolves (or evolves) into something Manuel Gottsching would have been proud of in the late 70's. "Morka" also stands out as the sort of electro-shoegazing track that Ulrich Schnauss is known for, but once again with an interesting Greek folk twist. The second disc is even better, with less filler hanging around. "Pyramida" makes an nod to lounge music while maintaining a Neu-worthy beat, while "H Palia Edem" entertains with some groovy percussion and oddly-reverbed chanting vocals. The closing track even inches towards a J-pop (as in Japanese) happiness while an 80's synth riff drives it on.
This may not be the best music you'll hear this year, but it will definitely rank at the top of your unsigned band lists. There are plenty of styles on Fantastikoi Hxoi's palette and they manage to mix them quite well for the most part. I'd love to see them focus their sound and hone their songwriting for the next album; the playing and textures are firmly in place now.