ALBUM: Ioanna Gika – ‘Thalassa’

Ioanna Gika is a Greek American artist whose debut solo album Thalassa is out today. The album is named in honour of the Greek spirit of the sea, which I mention if only to highlight the sense of aural vastness and awe that Gika is establishing here. The epic opening track ‘Roseate’, in all its sophistication and variety, complexity and beauty, acts as a sonic manifesto. It points the way towards what Gika intends to do with the rest of the album. The sound is both expansive and complex, atmospheric and soundscape-y. It is all absorbing and overwhelming.

Within this piece of work there are industrial percussion elements set against soaring ethereal vocals and electro atmospherics, while at the same time light and dark sonic elements wrap themselves around each other in tendrils. From the eerie piano of the title track, to the exhilarating giddiness and elemental wildness of ‘Messenger’, with its fast electronic percussion and soaring vocals, it feels primal in nature. There are jagged string sections, layers of reverb, and passages of dark, sonic foreboding alongside ethereal beauty.

The single ‘Swan’ is an atmospheric and minimalistic piece, complex and poignantly raw in its emotional palette. Whereas ‘Weathervane’ has a ghostly, wistful element to it which is underpinned by industrial style percussion. Gika sounds like a mournful siren, standing on the rocks and looking out to sea during ‘No Matter What’, but ‘Ammonite’ is a dark pop song with solid foundations. Closing track ‘Drifting’ is simply elegant in its concept, the aural equivalent of a dragonfly flitting across a lake lit by sunshine; its motif is what sounds like a high speed harp, twinkling magically in the sunshine.

This is a tremendous album, one that is awe inspiring in scale and haunting in quality. Not to be missed.

Thalassa, the debut album from Ioanna Gika, is out now via Sargent House.

Cazz Blase

Track Of The Day: Ioanna Gika – ‘Out Of Focus’

Inspired by her Greek heritage and an emotional realisation after unexpected familial grief; Ioanna Gika has shared her new single ‘Out Of Focus’. Taken from her debut album Thalassa, which is set for release on 5th April via Sargent House, the song is a gentle and ornate example of Ioanna’s songwriting talent.

The single is accompanied by a self-directed music video, featuring world surf champion Jake Caster masked as the Greek God Pan. Ioanna’s album Thalassa takes its name from the primeval spirit of the sea, and her unusual treatment of mythical figures makes for a surreal set of visuals. Whilst her music has a strong sense of melancholy to it, her vocals and lyricism are as cutting and powerful as the waves Caster is chasing in the video.

Speaking about her upcoming album, Ioanna explains: “A series of deaths drew me home to Greece. The city of childhood memories was in disrepair. I drove past painted swastikas towards burial sites. I said goodbyes and grieved for those I didn’t get to say goodbye to. Thalassa is about going through change that is unwanted yet unstoppable. It is a document of the dread, the adrenaline, and the surrender in the moments when you realise the only way to survive the wave, is to brace yourself and go through.”

Ioanna will be supporting Garbage across the US in May as part of a Spring tour around the release of Thalassa. European dates will follow soon. Listen to ‘Out Of Focus’ below and follow Ioanna on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order your copy of Ioanna Gika’s debut album Thalassa here.

Kate Crudgington