Misguided heart pulses, a hammer, she, and the clock

Cover of Misguided heart pulses, a hammer, she, and the clock

Novi_sad | Misguided heart pulses, a hammer, she and the clock

Assembled and produced between February 2005 and October 2006.

Format : CD

Carefully handled, designed and crafted by Thanos Evgeniou.

On ”Crawling on the pavements of your skull”, the voice is that of Liv Ullmann.

€17 EUR | $20 USD | ¥2,200 JPY (worldwide free shipping)



I wasn’t sure what to expect upon receiving this disc. The stark, digitally treated artwork that adorns the heavy, textured sleeve has little in the way of credits or information, and no specific background on the artist, which is, I’m sure, his intent. A bit of the Google finds that it is the debut release of Greek artist Thanassis Kaproulias, and none of this is needed to enjoy the disc, which lays comfortably between the rough experimentations of proto-industrialists like Throbbing Gristle and the modern day esoteric work of Francisco Lopez and Asmus Tietchens.

Because of the sparse documentation, it is hard to make assumptions as to what exactly is going on here, but on the surface it feels like a good amount of digitally generated content with heavily treated acoustic sounds as well. The quiet crackling that opens “Everything Looks Better Beside Water” could be fire, it could be paper, or it could be entirely modeled via software for all I know. The rushing water sounds feel much more organic though, and conversely the deep electronic pulsing sounds purely digital.

Bizarre rhythmic elements appear in moderation at the end of both this track and the ending “Crawling on the Pavements of Your Skull” that are obviously percussive and rhythmic, but have a color that is entirely unique, resembling a beatbox made from bones and animal hides.

There are clear elements of pure noise as well: the high frequency infrasonic tones that open and conclude “Oh You Sweet and Spontaneous Earth…You Answered Them Only With Spring” will certainly grate on less dedicated listeners, as will the white noise and overdriven thuds that appear on occasion in the aforementioned “Crawling” track. While dissonant, it never becomes overwhelmingly oppressive or does it compromise the nuances of the more restrained elements in the mix. “Oh You Sweet…” features a complex mishmash of tones that manages to both seem completely chaotic, yet retain a structured, almost melodic vibe as well.

One of the most jarring elements comes in at the midpoint of “Crawling…,” which features an untreated dialog extract of Liv Ullman from Bergman’s The Passion of Anna. As it demarks the midpoint of the track, it is an oddly familiar element to a work that is so heavily focused on sounds that are unrecognizable and alien. Yet it doesn’t detract at all from the work, it instead functions as an oddly comfortable signpost in an alien world of sound.

As a debut, Novi_sad has already created a quality work that wouldn’t be out of the place in the catalog of a Marc Behrens or Francisco Lopez, and would seem to be the beginnings of an artist to watch. It’s definitely worth tracking down, and I hope the obscurity of this work doesn’t cause it to be lost in the shuffle.

The Wire

Beautiful, cryptic and spartan, these three tracks by the Greek producer Thanassis Kaproulias -not to be confused with the artist Novisad on the German Tomlab label- ask many more questions than they answer. They sprawl through space, as unruly, suggestive and difficult to pin down as their titles. Firmly rooted in drone, each piece builds from scratchy near-silence, swelling towards a succession of bracing but opaque climaxes. The opener “Everything Looks Better Beside Water”, begins as nothing more than harsh, spare white noise, but eventually a sound of liquid arrives, and the two parts fuse together, flowing eventually into a single, resonant note wreathed in nameless, high pitched chatter. “Crawling On The Pavements Of Your Skull” is lengthier and more deliberate still -sound shards chafe against a low, oscillating chord, and gradually the voice of Liv Ullmann (sampled from the Bergman’s film “The Passion of Anna”) enters, bringing with it a dose of quiet desperation and opening up connections to the early work of Godspeed! You Black Emperor.


With relatively simple means a tense atmosphere is presented. Droney but with enough overlayed sounds to keep me wide awake. Novi_sad is the mutated body that stands on the tips of its toes to look over a wall of white noise. It reaches the edge, almost getting a glimpse of what is on the other side. It almost sees. And when it almost sees, then it hears. And when it hears it hears the sudden attack of static. And as it hears it looks: the sky is static and falls like a sonic ceiling collapsing on its sole inhabitant: Novi_sad. So far in his own words… Rather poetically. Actually so is his music. Although at first hearing it appears rather distant, when you listen closely you can hear that the music can still grab you. Over the drone there is detail (in the form of recorded real life sounds) that introduce some warmth. It is indeed as if through the mist of white noise life emerges. There are three works on this disc.

All of them have a basis of on-going synth which sometimes disappears into the background. Over it we hear a slow repetition of real life sounds. Although technically and structurally it still is a bit crude – now and again it reminded me of the stuff that I could hear in the experimental underground of the 80s cassette culture – this composer has a lot of potential. His choice and combination of sounds and the pace with which the works progress reveal that we can expect more from Novi_Sad. Especially the last work is very strong. It starts with a dark synth harmonic drone slowly getting louder. Over this after a few minutes some distortion and a repeating (every 10 secs or so) pulse are heard. Then a lamenting woman’s voice enters which is slowly slowly going solo. Beautiful performance. Then we are half way through the composition at 11 minutes.

Silence and then low sine wave arises. This sine wave then accompaniment from an organ which adds higher frequencies to the bass tone. This grows and grows until the sound is saturated. After which we hear sounds of the sea and the city.

Strong stuff. Carry on, young man!

Vital weekly

The underscore in the name Novi_sad marks the difference with the other Novisad in the field of music. This is the work of a Greek guy that goes by the name Thanassis Kaproulias, I believe his debut. It’s not a recent release, but due to some mix up it finally landed on my desk. Three long pieces of what can be best (well, easily) be described as computer drone music, made with field recordings.

Thickly layered drones open up in “Everything Looks Better Beside Water,” that also carries some sampled percussive sound. Somewhere towards the end a violin like sound is added with irregular intervals. This is continued in the other two tracks, although in the final piece there is also a female voice telling a story. Perhaps some of the pieces are a bit too long and a bit more roughly shaped than say Roel Meelkop or Marc Behrens, this is a missing link between the current microsound trend and some of the 80s ambient industrial music.

A very promising start!

Igloo magazine

The new disc by Novi_sad (Thanassis Kaproulias) is a categorically astonishing debut. From the start, this nearly hour-long triptych of pieces is a multi-layered, expertly edited collage of dramatic fluid and crunchy textures. In this light, becoming a transcendent departure from your sense of space.

“Everything Looks Better Beside Water,” indeed. And if you simply close your eyes while playing this you may envision haunting streams of consciousness on the edge of clinical abduction. At times the low end delivers indelible hypnotic vibrations, searing metallics and a steady sense of the percussion of presence in the distance. The almost inaudible high pitched sine waves of “O you sweet and spontaneous Earth. You answered them only with spring” shift the velocity some. That is until about four minutes in when a siege of encrusted razor tones builds to a drone that obliterates most anything in its path. It’s noisy, yet resilient, and Kaproulias smartly knows when enough is enough, and as such mediates his own table of elements.

Rare Frequency

This poetically titled disc is the first full-length release by Greek musician Thanassis Kaproulias, aka Novi_Sad, and it is an exceptionally strong debut. Suffused with tension and a sense of dark foreboding, each of the three long pieces is composed using a few simple, but finely wrought elements — field recordings, organ drones, a voice, sine tones, and the like. The disc opens in near silence with the sounds of a trickling stream emerging out of the murk and then, gradually, more sounds enter the mix, accreting and evolving into a richly detailed, gently pulsing drone.

Overall, the structure of the pieces is relatively straightforward, but the care with which they’re put together and the quality of each individual ingredient, sets them apart and above. This is never more true than on the closing track, “Crawling on the Pavements of Your Skull.” Clocking in at almost 23 minutes, it’s a two-part epic that begins as a warm harmonic drone overlaid with an angst-ridden monologue by Liv Ullmann from the Ingmar Bergman film The Passion of Anna. After Ullmann’s voice fades to black, there is quiet until a sine tone pierces the silence, and another, more abrasive drone takes hold amidst a sea of haze and distortion. The piece builds to an ear-wrenching cacophony, and then, just as you can bear it no longer, drops out, leaving only the comparably soft sounds of traffic and street noise in its wake.


Posted November 26, 2006 in