Agis Giannoulis aka A.G is a multimedia artist and modern classical pianist based in Paris and Athens. Since 2005, he has released three studio albums under the names of Anika and A.G as well as several experimental audio visual artworks including “Videos: 2003-2013” (2014), “Colours in Black and White” (2018) or more recently “15,330 Days” (2021). Composed and recorded in London, Newcastle & Athens between 2002 and 2008 and “re-created” in Paris between 2012 and 2016, Lonea was released digitally in December 2019 and as a double LP on 5 June 2020 last on French independent DIY label Arbouse Recordings.
A.G is primarily a visual artist and Lonea shares a kinship with the realm of video and sound installations as indicated by the artist’s extensive videography to date. The LP artwork and inner sleeve feature static monochrome aerial photos, empty landscapes or post-industrial sites. The YouTube videos illustrating some of the pieces are also monochrome abstract patterned textures shifting slowly. The musician has been using a similar process for his video work which he calls “digital visual music”.
Agis Giannoulis’ Lonea is a collection of 25 slow-motion piano-based vignettes spanning over two hours which could well have been processed and edited from much faster originals. All between two and ten minutes long, each piece unfolds gradually and plays like an unresolved loop to generate a surreal atmosphere. “Lonea XIX” is perhaps the only track developing as a melodic modern-classical composition. Every track is bathed in ambient drone textures and “Lonea XXI” even elicits the warped vibration and decay of church bells sounding in an empty landscape.
Lonea draws influences from many disparate sources – the ambient work of Aphex Twin and Brian Eno, the tape loops of William Basinski, the abstract cover artwork of all Boards of Canada records, and even elements from the soundtrack to the virtually infinite video game Minecraft by German producer Daniel Rosenfeld aka C418.
The meandering piano on every track evokes also the early minimalism of French composer Erik Satie who famously coined the term “musique d’ameublement” or furniture music in 1917. In Satie’s own words, “furniture music” is a “fundamentally industrial music” whereby “the habit, the custom is to make music on occasions where the music has nothing to do […] Furniture music creates vibration, it has no other goal”.
On the Erik Satie et les nouveaux jeunes version 2 compilation (2015), A.G revisited three pieces, namely Petite Ouverture à Danser (1897), Les Pantins Dansent (1913) and Relâche (1924). But rather than interpreting the whole original work, the musician only focused his attention on fragments from each – a few notes or a distinctive chord progression. In keeping with Erik Statie’s notoriously loose and poetic tempo indications, each revisited piece was also considerably slowed down and processed. A.G adopts a similar approach on Lonea.
Blending analogue and digital music, the audio and the visual medium, photographs and videos, looping fragments and lyricism, Lonea is not a collection of musical compositions in the classical sense. It becomes instead the eerie sonic background to a giant audio-visual art installation in which listeners are invited to proceed slowly from one room to the next – if the Roman numerals assigned as each song title were an indication of the physical layout of the imaginary venue.