After some years living in Sweden, in 1992, along with fellow musician Makis Faros he set up Elfish record label. The two of them also formed Raw, an electronic duo that managed to record three albums (the third remains unreleased).
Raw formed during the summer of 1990, when Giannis Papaioannou and Makis Faros started composing music for imaginary films and waiting rooms! They combined the traditional “electronic” way of tape-loops, the industrial timbres of musique-concrete with the harmonics of world music, all filtered through digital sampling and computer programming. At the same time, they were working as basic members in Spider’s Web (Giannis on keyboards and Makis on drums), but Raw’s music was based only on electronic instruments and analog-digital manipulation.
Their homes became two different studios, exchanging musical ideas and digital media of sampled material. The first part of their trilogy was called “Land” and it was a result of a three months programming on Igor (their dedicated Macintosh computer). The process was slow but the two friends were more productive than ever. After another month of late night recordings on 8 track and many different sessions with guest friends on acoustic or electric instruments, the result was more than magical! Haunting samplers and cooling synths, screaming e-bowed guitars and crying clarinets, invite the listener to a sonic trip through different musical landscapes, by blending Greek traditional and European contemporary music forms. “Land” was finally completed in September 1991, released through Elfish in November and as soon as it came out, received excellent reviews from Greek and European music press.
After a year of several recordings and many successful and not so successful performances around Athens, the band reached the point of completing “City”, the second part of their trilogy, a project fully inspired by the mechanisms of their own big town, Athens. This project sounds completely different than “Land”, presenting another electronic face of Raw, who manipulate more rhythm, analog synthesizers and harsh sampling to create the atmosphere of their city. A fine mixture of dreamy synthesized sounds and eerie fretless basslines, feature a trip to the grey Athens sights, the transformation of beautiful childhood dreams to young adult nightmares. Thomas Musialofksi, from Poland played saxophone on two tracks, and Tania Nikoloudi did the female vocal part on “Your Sweetest Pain”.
After the release of “City” on Elfish, the band showed on a numbered list of gigs which all of them were dressed in a cyberdelic slide-show, driven all around their stage environment by the Greek artist Pantelis Pantelopoulos. Then, they made the soundtrack to the video-art film “The Sea”, directed by the Greek underwater photographer Chris Vardopoulos, and two videos for their tracks “Transalbanian” and “Sisyphus”. They also appeared on national TV, interviewed by Argyris Zilos (journalist) and performed live on his show.
Unfortunately, during 1994, Giannis and Makis had to face the decision of giving up with their record label, Elfish, since the limited editions of their releases hardly reached a limited distribution around their own country. Just a few days after they had received the legendary Lanterna album from the vinyl factory, Elfish ceased its activities and The Elfish Society closed its doors. Today, all of Elfish releases are considered as collectors’ items around their own country, some of them reaching high bids through e-Bay.
When Raw disbanded Giannis Papaioannou switched to ION by releasing the Sauna EP through a new label in collaboration with Oxy Publishing Company, called Sonar Recordings.
Edited by IonGreece on 26 May 2009, 22:46
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