CULTURE

Electronica act in hiding steps out of the shadows

He was an integral part of the now-defunct yet still-admired electronica outfit Stereo Nova, but Michalis Delta’s contribution to the act’s work tended to be hidden behind the all-around charisma of frontman Constantinos Beta – both on stage as a performer, and in recorded work as an inspired lyricist and gentle-rapping vocalist. Since their breakup in the late 1990s, after several albums and numerous appearances which helped inject new life into the local contemporary scene, both Beta and Delta, whose real surnames have been kept under wraps, have pursued active solo careers as recording artists. Yet while Beta has performed shows on a relatively regular basis, Delta, oddly, has neglected live performances, opting instead to play regular DJ sets. This Saturday, Delta is about to change all that and put a face to his seemingly faceless work – as is common in electronica – with his first ever performance as a solo act at the Rodon Club in Athens. For the belated occasion, Delta, who has just released a new album, «Ouranio Toxo» (Rainbow), has put together a multimedia show which will include video projection and choreographed parts prepared by two other artists. Delta, who has quietly been developing a solid reputation on the European dance circuit for his recorded work, will be backed by two musicians for the performance, Yiannis Mobil, a former collaborator with Stereo Nova, and Giorgos Connis. The seasoned vocalist Tania Tsanaklidou, who joined forces with Delta for his «To Chroma Tis Meras» album in 2001 – a generation-bridging collaboration that connected the older singer with newer musical sounds while also injecting a sample of old-fashioned charm into Delta’s electronica – will make a guest appearance. Incidentally, Delta’s album with Tsanaklidou virtually coincided with a similar-minded effort from Beta with another veteran singer, Dimitra Galani, as his vocalist. Returning to Saturday’s debut solo performance by Delta: The artist, in a recent statement, said that the sub-themes of his multimedia show would include «hints of cyber-romanticism,» «sex in search of love,» and «resistance against controlled ideas.» Delta’s material, much of which has been influenced by the hard-thumping sounds of Detroit’s techno scene, will be accompanied by a moody setting of minimalistic motion, dark makeup, and post-punk costumes, all intended to «raise questions» and «send individuals on their own journeys during the performance,» he noted. Delta surfaced as a recording artist in 1992 as a founding member of Stereo Nova, a groundbreaking electronica act in Greece at the time. Though the dance-oriented act with probing, intelligent lyrics dissolved later that decade, Delta had shown hints of a prospective solo career by setting up a side project, T19, ahead of the act’s demise. He has since been prolific with releases on various labels, both Greek and foreign. Delta followed up on his T19 project with «The Picture,» a mini-album on an influential Belgian techno label, R+S, in 1996, while Stereo Nova were still rolling. Soon after the band’s demise, Delta released his first full-length album as a solo artist, 1999’s «Blue Emotions,» on the British label Glasgow Underground. It received favorable reviews from some of the UK’s specialized dance-circuit magazines. During the same year, Delta released another album, «Nepeta,» on a small Greek independent label, Studio II, before he switched to the major label Universal for his album with Tsanaklidou. In 2001, Delta released his next project, «Halcyon Days,» on a French label, Distance. It proved particularly popular on dance circuits around Europe as well as in the USA. Reviews for the album were favorable, while several tracks were included on «jazz-house» compilation albums featuring some of the scene’s leading acts. Delta’s latest album, «Ouranio Toxo,» which he launched last week with a DJ set at an Athenian club, has been released on the Warner label.