12th Feb Los Angeles, Fonda
13th Feb San Francisco, August Hall
15th Feb New York, Public Records
21st Feb Tel Aviv, Tider
8th Mar Zurich, Kasheme
19th Mar Bristol, Arnolfini
25th Mar Berlin, Kiezsalon
27th Mar Cologne, King Georg
28th Mar Manchester, White Hotel
29th Mar London, Southbank Purcell Room
31st Mar Amsterdam, Melkweg upstair
7th Mar Milan, Tempio del futuro perduto
- “Somewhere between Balearic, ambient music and secular new age, with echoes of Harold Budd, Jon Hassell and Arthur Russell’s ‘World Of Echo’” Pitchfork
- “Gigi Masin’s place at the round-table of legendary ambient musicians is secure” Inverted Audio
- “A master of the sublime” The Vinyl Factory
- Very beautiful” Test Pressing
On 28th February Apollo records present a masterpiece of ambience and beyond – ‘Calypso’ – the stunning new double longplayer by Venetian maestro Gigi Masin.
The LP is inspired by the mythical Greek island of Ogygia and its alleged real life counterpart Gavdos – also known unofficially as Calypso – a place of extreme beauty, which upon visiting had a profound effect on the musician.
The other keys to Masin’s creation are Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ and Byron’s ‘Childe Harold’, all of which feature the tale of the goddess-nymph Calypso, who imprisoned king Odysseus on Ogygia for seven years.
The aqueous and sky-filled vistas of his native Venice are deeply intrinsic, but the best and simplest way to describe ‘Calypso’s sound might simply be Aegean, as every track takes you directly and vividly there – to timeless Greek beauty, glistening seas, picturesque landscapes and the sun’s bright, balmy heat.
But, much more than just pleasant dapples of twinkling of audio balm, ‘Calypso’ is music of the gods, goddesses and heroes, subliminally capturing all the celestial beauty, awe, romance and adventure of an epic saga.
The album – like the island itself – evokes a sense of intrigue, hinting at the dark and dangerous, made mellow with centuries of age, but still just palpable through the sands of time.
“Gavdos gives you profound sensations in every corner, as here you can find enchantment, mystery, the getting lost to forget, to erase and drown the memories in a light and salty water. A place new and ancient, between cedars that have seen exiles, pestilences, blood and desperation, isolation and abandonment, it’s the absolute of a life that every heart in love seeks, desperately, in the arms of Calypso, divine among the goddesses. An infinite love, and the infinite horizon of our dreams”, says Masin, eloquently.
Although instruments can be discerned if concentrating, and although identifiable as electronic music, it feels more like the elements are his ensemble – a multi-track tape machine filled with channels of water, warmth and breeze. This is the beatific sound of a relaxed mind, freed to wander in far away places of metaphysical awe.
‘Calypso’ was, in fact, made using “the same old software, a simple, sort of a child-proof game from the mid 90s or what experts call a ‘beta’. It’s a kind of mixer where you have to insert the music files as they are, naked and simply as recorded. But it works like I have 6 or 8 tape recorders where my sounds are not locked, so my chance of giving them a perfect position isn’t always certain. Often it seems the sound found its own way without human logic, and the music appears as a revelation”, Gigi explains.
Masin’s debut album ‘Wind’ went underappreciated on its release in 1986, but later gained a cult following among late night radio listeners. His 1989 joint LP for Sub Rosa with This Heat’s Charles Hayward – ‘Les Nouvelles Musiques Du Chambre’ – took on a life of its own when his track ‘Clouds’ was sampled by Björk, Post Malone, To Rococo Rot, Main Attrakionz, Black Eyes Peas and Nujabes, but Gigi remained in obscurity.
In 2014, Dutch label Music From Memory released ‘Talk To The Sea’, a retrospective covering the past 30 years of Gigi’s output. It marked the start of a wider recognition he so richly deserved, with the late-blooming composer now counting Oneohtrix Point Never, Devendra Bahanart, Caroline Polachek, Joe Boyd and the late Kenny Wheeler as fans.
Gigi formed the trio Gaussian Curve with producer and Melody As Truth label-head Jonny Nash and Dutch DJ/producer Marco Sterk (AKA Young Marco), who released their debut LP ‘Clouds’ in 2015. In Italy Masin recorded two joint records with Luciano Ermondi and Paolo Mazzacani of Tempelhof, for Italian label Hell Yeah called ‘Hoshi’ and ‘Tsuki’.
Gigi also appeared on PAN as part of Lifted, a group spearheaded by Future Times founder Andrew Field-Pickering (Max D / Beautiful Swimmers), which also featured Matthew Papich (Co La), Jeremy Hyman (Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks), Motion Graphix, Jordan Czamanski (Juju & Jordash), and Dawit Eklund (1432 R).
A series of singles followed on Throne of Blood, Dekmantel and Light In The Attic, plus a guest appearance on the track ‘November’ from Joseph Shabason’s album ‘Anne’.
Aptly released on Apollo, ‘Calypso’ joins a label who count other classics like Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works 85 – 92’, plus Biosphere’s ‘Microgravity’ and ‘Patashnik’ in its catalogue.
Climbing in incremental steps to the pantheon’s summit, Masin now is close to reaching his rightful place alongside giants like Brian Eno, Laurie Spiegel, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tangerine Dream and Midori Takada.