A Musical Guide To The Athens Underground in 10 Tracks
I love Athens, even with all her problems, I just really do. In 2020, art-wise, she is in great shape as far as (mostly) individual initiatives go. It is remarkable what Athenians, without any government support, can create and work on. There’s a wide variety of projects, sounds, and ideas, which can transform the city into a great rising capital for anything art related. However, let’s just not call her “the new Berlin,” shall we? It is wrong on so many levels, and most importantly, Athens is the new Athens!
Here are 10 awesome tracks by Athenian and Greek artists.
Jay Glass Dubs feat. Yorgia Karidi – Animal Estate [Bokeh Version]
Here is a track from dub maestro Jay Glass Dubs featuring Athens UHD contributor Yorgia Karidi on vocals. Released in 2019 by JGD’s long time collaborating label Bokeh Versions, this one is a bit different to the majority of JGD’s long catalogue and is one of my personal favorites. A rolling, steady rhythm with trademark murky textures filling the space. What I personally like in JGD’s music is the space and general image he creates in his tracks. There is this always-underlying dread, which is almost euphoric in its core. Yorgia’s vocals fill in greatly with a poetic touch that’s almost otherworldly.
Morah – Sinful Desires [Vanila]
Where to start with Morah? He’s one of the most active artists in Athens, completely independent, with countless parties, events, and releases under his belt. He runs Phormix, a Greek platform/label/club night, which is majorly responsible for the industrial/EBM revolution that’s been happening for a long time now in Athens. In addition, you can find him on most Techno party line-ups and not unjustifiably because he’s also a sick DJ. I chose this track because it is from his latest EP on Vanila, another Athens label focused on industrial sounds, which has, in my opinion, one of the best, cheekiest concepts behind the graphic design and a super consistent catalogue of sounds they promote. This particular track is one of Morah’s best, with a heavily distorted beat at its core and textures plus shouts/vocals floating in and out.
Dervisis – Yelde (BFTT’s Gliding Slug Remix) [Trial & Error]
This one is from Trial & Error’s back catalogue. Maybe I’m cheating a bit here, but this particular remix from BFTT was one of my favorite tracks from last year, and the original from Dervisis (also in the Athens UHD roster) was equally enjoyable.
What BFTT managed here is to take Dervisis’ bedroom pop meets eastern rhythms and transform it into the perfect summer club soundtrack. I could also call this one “Athens to Istanbul via the UK.” Does that make sense? In my ears, it definitely does!
Territroy – I Meant You, Not You [Dekmantel]
Do you know Larry Gus? If not, get to know him. In this project, he collaborates with Statik II (aka Mr. Statik) for a superb LP, released by Dekmantel last year. It is always nice to get recognition from abroad, and this release does that. Trippy percussion, rising synths, and the right amount of bass make this track a personal standout. The complete use of the stereo image makes it even more impressive. I really enjoy it when artists use it to their advantage. Also, ehm, surprise surprise! Statik II has his own contribution to the Athens UHD compilation.
Xyn Cabal – Nowei [The Death Of Rave]
Now, for something a bit different, here is Nowel from Xyn Cabal. He’s the co-owner of the forward-facing music label Hypermedium and one of my personal favorite Athenian producers ever. Grime pulse synths, dynamic broken beat, futuristic aesthetics, simply perfect to my ears. Shout out to (yes, Athens UHD artist) Inhalt for his perfectly accompanying artwork and video for another track, “Perfect Oracle.” The whole EP is fantastic and stands proudly as a leading club release, so make sure you check it out.
Anatolian Weapons – Disillusioned [Dekmantel]
“Disillusioned” is Athenian Anatolian Weapons’ contribution to the awesome Selectors 005 compilation, curated by Lena Willikens and released on Dekmantel in 2018. A standout track for many people and what could be the perfect description of leftfield house/techno. AW has a big catalogue now, and last year’s LP To The Mother Of Gods, released via Beats In Space, is essential.
FlokosH – Dystopian Afterparty 2069 [Black Athena]
Super accurate track title for the massively cyberpunk inspired artist, FlökosH. Clocking in at 135 BPM, breaks are the signal here with mysterious sci-fi synth lines grabbing the attention just enough before the bass kicks in. Another artist with a huge catalogue and one of the few you could call a wonderkid. Noticeably, this EP was released in 2018 by Black Athena, the label responsible for many UK bass club nights and releases. Big shout out to them since they’ve been doing it when no one else dared to. Make sure to also check out Giganta’s (Athens UHD contributor) fantastic releases on Black Athena.
Jeph1 feat. I-Mitri – Blaze [Mindstep Music]
Dubstep made in Athens. Jeph1, (Jeph Vanger’s moniker), was one of the leading Dubstep producers/DJs/promoters in the golden years of the sound. Numerous club nights with international guests, radio shows, and a true-to-the-roots attitude will always place Jeph1 in the top spot for Dubstep in my head. Bios‘ Funktion-One soundsystem is still shaking from those nights.
Miltiades – Stmete [Echovolt]
Here is a more straightforward house track from Miltiades, a Greek artist who is responsible for many lo-fi/leftfield house releases on labels like Nous and Bliq, among others. Templeyard Studios is his more recent project, where he explores similarly interesting territories. Stmete was released in 2014 by Greek label Echovolt, a local champion for this type of sound.
Lena Platonos – Lego (Lena Willikens Remix) [Dark Entries]
What better way to close this than a classic? Lena Platonos is (maybe without her even realizing it) the mother of anything electronic music-related in Athens/Greece. She is a legend to the eyes and ears of everyone here, and her status worldwide speaks for itself. I chose this particular remix because it is another classic, a modern one that contributed to the contemporary focus on her inspiring back catalogue.
Lena Platonos, thank you.
Trial & Error’s ‘Athens UHD’ compilation drops on April 3. Purchase it here.