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A Life Is A Billion Heartbeats, continues Yannis Kyriakides + Andy Moor's exploration and mining of the rich and mysterious terrain of Greek rebetika music from the early 20th century. Their first release of this project (simply entitled “Rebetika”) was for the most part taken from a live recording at the CCA, Glasgow in 2006. For that, Yannis had created processed versions of Andy's favourite rebetika tunes which served as a matrix or palette onto which both musicians then improvised using electric guitar, live sampling and electronics. In this new set of songs they have revisited similar elements but with a new approach in the combination and juxtaposition of rebetika elements with their own distinct sonic explorations.
Since they have been performing this set for several years now, the songs and improvisations on this LP have grown and expanded in repertoire and range of expression, giving more space for rhythmic and hypnotic elements to come to the fore. The music travels from more composed and arranged renditions of the old tunes, to completely improvised pieces that try to capture a sense of the gesture and tonalities of the source music, albeit with a contemporary edge.
The material derives again from the golden period of rebetika music, the late 20s and early 30s, including voices such as Rita Abatzi, Markos Vamvakaris, Giorgos Batis and the great guitarist and singer Kostas Bezos. The title A Life Is A Billion Heartbeats alludes to the transient sense of life found in their songs, and of the many of the musicians in the underground of Greek life in those turbulent times.