"Memories from a Sea View" review by Steve Sheppard
April 28, 2020
This is somewhat of a truism for me, as out of my upstairs balconies I have several sea views, so I can really appreciate this album from Kostas Boukouvalas called Memories From a Sea View completely, and all that it brings to my senses. This is a musical journey of many styles, influences and instrumentation.
We start our journey with the opener entitled Star Dance; this is a piece with depth and a whole lot of passion, one that weaves a sense of true movement into its arrangement with ease.
We now drift into the arms of the next offering entitled Imprisoned in a Dream; there is a beautiful sense of ambience with the construction of this composition that is utterly delightful, both the piano and guitar bring us an energy of a mystical quality. This is one addictive song; one I found hard to truly leave behind me as it was so well performed.
Sand Paintings had a blissful energy of innocence in its tones that I found most graceful indeed, but below that there was a somewhat mysterious layer of minor magic that kept the attention firmly on the composition, and its tremendous presentation.
In Cyprus, normally we tend to spend a lot of time on the beach, and that is where we are going virtually within this track called, Listening to Bach on the Beach. Whilst we do so, we can listen to Bach in this meditative offering that contains some perfectly balanced sounds of the ocean lapping up to the warm sands of the aforementioned beach. The Violin here is both haunting and soothing in its musical narrative.
The fluency of the piano on Memory Waves is something to be admired, one can literally drift along with this up-tempo offering with ease. The melody and mood of this arrangement is indeed sun kissed and warming to listen to.
A Little Cancer Attacks may sound like a curious title, but as were on the beach I am hoping this refers to the Crab of the Zodiac, the fast paced and jagged keyboard performance would lead me to think so, and indeed, if you listen to its compositional structure, this is rather a clever song, pretty much mimicking the movement of this oceanic creature.
The delightful strings of Sea & Sky Mating had an almost mesmeric effect upon me as I listened. There was something classical, perhaps in the style of Vaughn Williams, but the mood and melody was so picturesque and colourful, and for me at times depicted a view where perhaps the land meets the sea itself!
The gentle refrains of the piano float around us with a gentle calming sense of serenity now, as we listen to Far Away but Still Here. The ambience created here is idyllic, the addition of the guitar created a little extra dimension of musical craft to the proceedings, one that indeed added an extra sense of musical colour to the piece.
Beach Party Echoes is next, it is time to change the energy on this extremely warm afternoon, the deep plunging bass line here is powerful and profound, whilst the keyboards of Boukouvalas wend a fascinating shimmering narrative of fun days that seemed endless and would never change, but now are just echoes across a windswept landscape.
As the boats in Paphos harbour head for their moorings, you can usually hear on the tourist boats, the waves of sound carrying the world famous Zorba and his dance echoing around the port. However here on this offering entitled Zorba’s Gaze, we get a moment to listen to a memory packed guitar performance that reminds me of those precious meditative moments sitting far away from the crowds, watching the glistening on the blue horizon, and the shimmering of the waves as they crash upon the rocks. This is one of the most tranquil, yet picturesque performances on the album, and utterly delightful.
With each passing of a day, our lives evolve into special segments to be remembered, these are moments and memories and this penultimate creation is a testament to those mental perambulations, it is entitled Requiem for a Moment. The artist with this offering has created a masterful composition of musical genius, one packed with so many memories, with so many emotions and feelings, this is one of those tracks that you might well find yourself playing on repeat for hours, and not even noticing.
The last portal to this dimension is called The Irreversibility of Time and in a way is almost a testament to the last piece. It’s deep moving and slow tempo allows the listener to bathe in the memories of time itself, this is an outstanding performance to finish with, and easily one of the most emotive off the album, both keyboards and piano are in complete harmony here, and ending what has been a fascinating, and at times an incredibly thoughtful and passionate album.
Memories From a Sea View by Kostas Boukouvalas is an fine example of how to create a truly fascinating album, one that utilises the options of multi-instrumentation, but at all times managing to hold each and every composition into a format so listenable and perfectly balanced. This is music to be completely enjoyed whether you have a sea view like me, or not.
"Memories from a Sea View" review by Kathy Parsons
April 27, 2020
Memories From a Sea View is the second album from Greek pianist/composer Kostas Boukouvalas, following his 2011 debut, Few notes are enough to change the world. The music for Memories From a Sea View was composed during a one-year stay on the island of Crete and tells quite a compelling story. The “savage and mystical environment” as well as the beauty of the island inspired Boukouvalas to compose (originally for solo piano) the twelve “minimal-neoclassical-ambient pieces” that grace the album. A few years after returning to Athens, Boukouvalas arranged the music to capture his moods and experiences from his year on Crete. In addition to piano, Boukouvalas plays synth, various samples and electronics; he also made field recordings that are incorporated into some of the music. Stathis Apostolopoulos plays acoustic and electric guitars, and Matthew Dakoutros plays violin. The colorful titles offer just enough of a suggestion of what the music is “about” to ignite the listener’s imagination without telling the whole story. Several of the tracks are on the quiet side, but a few are bolder and quite lively, painting a more complete picture of the composer’s impressions and experiences of Crete as well as showing his versatility as a composer.
Based in Athens, Kostas Boukouvalas’ music has been utilized in amateur theater performances, short films, commercials and school plays. He has also been a member of various art and electronic music groups. In 2016, he founded “The Last of the Romantics,” an ensemble that performs his music in various art venues in Athens. He is also a primary school teacher.
Memories From a Sea View begins with “Star Dance,” a piece that starts as a poignant and very simple piano solo with a distinctive Greek flavor. Strings enter after about a minute, adding a mysterious yet shimmering element. When a slow but steady rhythm is added on the piano, the piece gradually builds in drama while keeping the melody very simple and evocative. “Imprisoned in a Dream” is much darker. Piano, guitar and various ambient sounds create a mood that is almost mournful. The piano is once again very simple and poignant for much of the piece, but there are a few passages that are much bigger and more dancelike - a fascinating mix of moods and styles. “Sand Paintings” is very fluid and gracefully performed with mostly piano with light strings, guitar, and ambient sounds. A violin solo, “Listening to Bach on the Beach” includes the soothing sound of ocean waves. “Memory Waves” is possibly the most accessible and radio-friendly piece on the album. Upbeat and rhythmic, piano, guitar and synth suggest sea breezes and a peaceful calm. Not surprisingly, “A Little Cancer Attacks” is agitated and uncomfortable. “Far Away But Still Here” is mostly piano and guitar with some synth and feels very much like being lost in thought. Parts of the piece are dreamy and others are more turbulent - intriguing! “Zorba’s Gaze” is an electric guitar solo that is very slow, spare and atmospheric. “Requiem For a Moment” is very still and even more emotional. Piano, strings and subtle effects beautifully express sadness and loss. On the amazing “The Irreversibility of Time” piano and atmospheric sounds create a very slow, dark beginning passage that borders on heartbreaking. At the halfway point, the acoustic guitar enters and the music becomes peaceful and relaxed, perhaps indicating acceptance. The last minute of the album is the sound of ocean waves and sea birds with a very gradual fade out to the end of the album.
Memories From a Sea View is an outstanding piece of musical art and is available from Amazon and iTunes as well as Spotify, Bandcamp and Google Play.
"Memories from a Sea View" review by Jim Paterson
April 17, 2020
"Memories from a Sea View" is a new album by Kostas Boukouvalas. While not strictly a film score, it is very much in the tradition of that genre and it's easy to imagine a dramatic narrative to the overall album. Piano dominates several tracks and earlier tracks suggest the minimalist music of Einaudi or Nyman with hints of Tiersen and Glass. However other instruments and stylistic differences hint at broader influences. The music is always evocative on a scale from dreamy to emotional, and these tracks could easily accompany film and television dramas. The album is released on the "Off" record label and you can listen to it or download it here on the Off website