Musician and producer Stevie R makes a welcome return to Chapter 24 Records with his Melt album, in which he showcases a desire to bring back ‘rebetiko’ - the little known, underground ‘blues’ music of his native Greece, music that was often outlawed due to its anti-establishment themes. As its name suggests, Melt is a melting pot of sounds and an intricate journey through the musical cosmos, an enticing and alluring soundscape that captivates the listener and invites them along for the ride.
“Melt is the story of 13 animals trying to go to space. Each animal is a figure in the artist's life, accompanying the others on the difficult journey. Nobody knows where space is, what it looks or feels like. To me, space is where our fears disappear, our loved ones stand beside us, and the fights in our mind cease. Nevertheless, there is a different journey for each and every one of us, our Universe is unique and the animals always look different; in this journey we travel alone.” - Stevie R
Melt is Stevie R’s platform to bring the rebetiko music that he was raised on, sounds that he believes are a real healing tool, to a wider audience. On the album he worked alongside the Egyptian poet and glitch producer CERPINTXT and Turkish singer/songwriter Djanan Turan. The album unites the music from his childhood with music from Greece’s neighbouring countries - Egypt and Turkey.
The album opens with the ambient melancholic sounds of Stépa, where dark strings are interwoven with euphoric horns. The vocal hook is a sample from a Greek theatre play that translates to “kiss me, my light”. Stevie R explains that “the song represents purity, creation, fertility and unconditional love”. Delias feat. Djanan Turan & Master Dani begins with an abundance of earnest strings with a mesmerising beat and sensual vocals. It is a tribute to Anestis Delias, one of the forefathers of rebetiko, who met a sad and untimely death in his early 30s. It features the alluring vocals of Djanan Turan and the skilled string work of Master Dani. Asprúla steers the journey into more electronic territory - bubbling synths and a bouncy bass are interspersed with those unmistakable stringed textures. Gkii, written alongside Egyptian poet CERPINTXT, is a call and response song between the melodies of both Greek and Egyptian instruments, a cross-cultural dialogue that marries the two in a beautiful union as the track unfolds. On Gunii, Stevie uses a slow, chugging beat, intertwining traditional sounds with analogue synthesisers.
The album then moves into the next part of its story with Bótsa Bótsa, once again featuring the spellbinding vocals of Djanan Turan. It’s gripping, intense and thought-provoking. Madilo brings together the elements of light and dark. A crescendo of cymbals and tinkling percussion sit neatly together with glitchy, whirring synths. Red Lemon is overflowing with percussion against the backdrop of a heady bassline. Acid Tri takes the album back into more electronic territory, fast-paced and layered with the enthralling vocal talent of Djanan Turan. Penultimate song Tsari is the beginning of the end of Melt’s journey. A powerful plethora of sounds sit atop a growling bass. Intense and rhythmic, it’s slow burning and chaotic with somewhat supernatural vocals. The album closes with Misirlu, the perfect antidote to its predecessor. The pace is slowed and a calm ambience adds to its presence giving the listener space to breathe, whilst instilling an essence of reflection, asking the listener to take stock of the journey that they’ve been on. Was it all a dream?
Stevie R’s masterful ability to tell a story is omnipresent in all of his work. Infusing a modern electronic beat with the traditional sounds of his home country, Melt proved to be a rather cathartic process for Stevie. He arrived in London from his native Greece at the age of 21 to study music at Point Blank. Now a popular tutor at that very same school , Stevie’s musical career is about to explode. In the last year alone he has played alongside musical behemoths including Apparat, Fritz Kalkbrenner, John Talabot and Martin Buttrich. His live shows, which he’s taken to E1 London, Electric Brixton, Ministry of Sound, Sisyphos and ADE, are a multi-sensory journey - a theatrical experience, much like a concert with musicians and singers. In his productions, Stevie incorporates a broad spectrum of instruments such as traditional Greek tzouras and baglamas, a variety of guitars, acoustic and electric violins, field recordings and modular synthesisers. This ability to conjure emotion and weave a sonic tale is why his music is so perfect for Chapter 24.
Launching in 2014, Chapter 24 pushes music with meaning. The name is taken from chapter 24 of the ancient Chinese divination book, The I Ching. Their goal is to release music that is a fusion of different sounds from all corners of the globe, music that tells a story and evokes deep-rooted emotions from within. Each release features the magical and mythical illustrations of Simon Vaeth. These transport you back to the days of your childhood, fantastical fairytales and dark fables.
released March 15, 2019
Written by Stavros Potamitis. Mastered by RB Mastering Studios. Original artwork by Simon Vaeth.