Although this is my second review of an album from the talented Greek duo MK-O, “Ovation” is actually their debut album, so it gives me an opportunity to experience the raw genesis of the group.
As a refresher course for those unfamiliar with the group, MK-O is the collaborative effort of two Greek artists, Marina Kanavaki and Oannes. According to her mini-bio Marina Kanavaki studied art and music in London and Athens , combining her passion for classical piano and singing with art and design. Her art work has appeared in Smith’s Gallery ( London ) and Epohes Gallery ( Athens ). She released the solo album ‘POTE & TIPOTA’ (based on the poems of Elias Petropoulos) in 2000 on the Virgin/EMI label. The album was produced and arranged by Oannes which lead to the formation of the duet MK-O.
Multi-instrumentalist Oannes performed with a variety of rock and electronic groups, appearing on five albums and composing the music for several film scores. Oannes is an adequate singer, inventive songwriter, brilliant producer, and outstanding musician – mastering both guitar and keyboards.
“Ovation” lacks much of the polish of their second effort, the impressive double-CD “Unreel”, but has an even more playfully adventurous quality – imagine a 21st Century version of wacky 50s’ bandleader Spike Jones; replace the bells, slide whistles and cowbells that Spike Jones incorporated to bring out the humor of his classic arrangements with Oannes’ use of modern sampled snippets of processed narrative dialogue and concrete blocks of sound.
On “Ovation” Oannes handles a majority of the lead vocals while the angelic voice of Marina Kanavaki is used more as an instrument, a sort of breathy angelic Theremin. And while not a particularly strong vocal presence, Oannes vocals do have a sort of David Bowie meets Roger Waters quality to it which works well within the framework of the music.
MK-O’s musical style can be categorized as avant-garde experimentations in psychedelia, rock, electronic industrial techno, new age ambience, and classical filmscore, appealing to fans of group like MAGMA, OZRIC TENTACLES, KRAFTWWERK, FUTURE SOUNDS OF LONDON, A TRIGGERING MYTH, IN THE NURSERY, DOL THEETA, SPACE MIRRORS, MINISTRY, KARDA ESTRA, and early Sid Barrett era PINK FLOYD.
And while the compositions themselves are less structured and of a repetitious nature, (as is the case with many musicians with a penchant for Detroit techno and electronica) the production quality is full and spacious with layer upon layer of instruments washing over the recording – the perfect headphone experience. I highly recommend this for the adventurous listener or someone throwing a hell of a party.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on August 8th, 2010