zeimbekiko 1918

Violin, electric guitar, record player.

The inspiration behind this piece is an old gramophone recording of the zeimbekiko “Aivaliotiko”. It was recorded by George Macreyannis (violin), V.Katsetos (laouto) and G.Klotserides (santouri) in New York in 1918. It is an instrumental zeimbekiko in the mode Saba from the island of Ayvali in Asia Minor.

Echoes of this recording are heard in the electronic layer of the piece, highly manipulated and distorted. Phrases occur in the wrong order and are overlaid on top of each other, moments are stretched out and re-sampled and the surface noise of the gramophone is always on the verge of obliterating the music. The medium itself both carrying and corrupting the message. The idea of memory trying to recall fragments of an almost forgotten past. An atmosphere of alienation and dreaminess pervades the piece.

The piece was originally conceived and written in 1995 for the Köln based group Ugly Culture (saxophone, electric guitar, contrabass). I felt the need to revise it for the duo Anna McMichael - Wiek Hijmans, the combination of violin and electric guitar seeming a more suitable combination for the character of the piece.

performance history

  • March 2001; Premier of the revised version by Anna McMichael and Wiek Hijmans at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

The piece is recorded on the Antichamber CD available from Unsounds.

Antichamber CD cover