The Phantom Tollbooth reviewed New Earth

The Phantom Tollbooth reviewed Sakis Gouzonis' 2nd studio album, New Earth.

The Phantom Tollbooth is an e-magazine based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. They began in December 1996, and their monthly readership now numbers over 30000. Their staff of over 100 writers is committed to reviewing quality music and they are always looking for the best in mainstream and underground music.

A big thank you goes out to Derek Walker, contributing writer for The Phantom Tollbooth, for helping Sakis Gouzonis reach more listeners.

View a screenshot of this album review or read it below.

 

New Earth

Album Review by Derek Walker
Contributing Writer for The Phantom Tollbooth
Illinois, United States of America
Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sakis Gouzonis, now based in Elassona, is a great example of a musician's work showing the inspiration of his surroundings. His keyboard instrumentals exude the sunshine and vitality of Greece.

A definite one-man act, he began arranging and recording when he was quite young, releasing a compilation of hymn arrangements while still at school, and even then getting a positive reaction from Europe, the Americas and Australia. His career took off when he entered the fifth international Composition Competition, winning third prize and a commendation award in the "digital dance music" category for two tracks from his 2008 album First Contact.

That album had the roots of this disc, but across the whole album his compositions betrayed a formulaic approach, and the playing could be quite staccato and rigid. It cried out for more variety.

He has made great progress with this follow-up, which is more fluid, more varied and has several outstanding tunes. In particular, he has developed the anthemic tracks that soar and lift the spirit, such as From the Sky with its driving melody; Elohim with its sense of grandeur; the expansive Eternal Peace and The Light Within Us, which seems to have it all – inspiration, melody and a rounded arrangement.

There are weaker tracks, such as the cheesy bits of A New Beginning and the stilted, plinky-plonk Cosmic Crossroads, which unfortunately reminds me of the UK one-hit wonder "Popcorn" that took advantage of the Moog's novelty in the early seventies. Sometimes (but less often than on his previous CD) the key changes sound a bit predictable.

One track that stands out is the simplest and most direct. Thank You For The Music is quite Andy Hunter-like in its effect, although it is less kaleidoscopic than Hunter's material. Its simplicity works and the piece is strikingly memorable.

With his similarity to Jean-Michel Jarre, I can see Gouzonis working on film soundtracks, but they would probably have to be comedies or feel-good movies, as his music usually takes you to sunny places.

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