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Othon - Silky Hands Of A Rough Piano Boy

Othon should be familiar to compulsiononline regular readers. His debut release Digital Angel, which featured guest contributions from Marc Almond and Current 93's David Tibet alongside Ernesto Tomasini received a glowing review. Silky Hands Of A Rough Piano Boy is a limited tape release from the Touch affiliated label The Tapeworm. Silky Hands Of A Rough Piano Boy shows the more classical side of Othon's work. That's hardly surprising. Othon, a Greek-born London-based composer is classically trained, and an accomplished composer and pianist. Pierced and tattooed, he is anything but conservative. He's provided soundtracks for Ron Athey performances and contributed to the soundtrack to the Bruce LaBruce film Otto or Up With The Dead People.

The opening instrumental 'Behind the Veil Behold the Liquid Light!' features a rich piano score tumbling into dramatic discord of bashing chords and tinkering notes and back again to melodic piano. There's a comic, ecstatic finale to the piece which is befitting of the surreal grandeur on display here. A further two tracks, showcasing the romantic, classical side of the performer, feature Othon's interpretation of the works of Mendelssohn and Chopin. It's obvious from these that he is a virtuoso on the piano.

Flip the tape over and you're met with some deranged operatic histrionics from a 2006 performance. Over a barrage of piano notes and chords Shona Watson's dramatic operatic voice sweeps, soars and shrieks. Only the alto-flute on 'Kali Dances' is restrained, everything else is exuberant and chaotic. The only thing that even comes close for comparisons is Dorothy Lewis's operatic appearances with Coil and particularly with her son Thighpaulsandra. The second live selection, again featuring Shona Watson's powerfully rich vocal, is 'Digital Angel 000'. This track was originally conceived as part of the Digital Angel suite of songs that appeared on Othon's debut album. Much more reserved than the preceding track the emotive piano score builds into a flurry of notes picking up on the recurring "Left Behind" lyrical motif captured in Watson's high register tones - and originally sung by Tomasini on 'Digital Angel I: The Union' from the more experimental cycle of songs from the album.

Silky Hands Of A Rough Piano Boy is released in an edition of 200 copies and showcases other facets of this supremely talented pianist/composer not captured on Digital Angel. Impermanence, Othon's new album on Cherry Red side label SFE, featuring ongoing-collaborator Ernesto Tomasini, alongside guest vocal contributions from Marc Almond and Camille O'Sullivan, is released in November 2011. For more information go to www.tapeworm.org.uk/ttw32.html