Sakis Gouzonis - 'A World At Peace'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight we’re going to be digging into ‘A World At Peace,’ the eighth studio effort of Sakis Gouzonis, a rising musician in Greece. His previous seven efforts have garnered him a modest following online and throughout the world. This has in turn led to several distinctions and accolades for his work - He’s a very versed artist and a veteran in the industry. ‘A World At Peace’ attempts to expand on his extensive repertoire with new cinematic landscapes. How successful is the effort at maintaining the credibility Gouzonis has earned over the years? Let’s find out.

For subscribers of the Independent Spotlight, I can easily make a comparison between Gouzonis’ music and Dimension Nine, another instrumental electronica artist we featured. (On the Jukebox Podcast.) Dimension Nine had an excellent hand over instrumentation for video game design. Gouzonis’ work is akin to that; it has a retro, yet contemporary feel to its composition and the songs could most certainly score an eight bit video game.

What makes ‘A World At Peace’ intriguing is its attention to detail. These soundscapes that Gouzonis crafts feel authentic and original. ‘In Unity There Is True Strength’ feels defiant and intense, a superb introduction to the record. The strongest early effort is most certainly ‘Pearls of Wisdom,’ however - an infectious, catchy, and beautiful instrumental. All too often independent electronic artists’ music falls into a rut halfway through the record. It’s very difficult to maintain originality when you’re genre-limited by the tools you have access to. ‘A World At Peace’ finds a way to transcend its electronic nature and enter the realm of fine composition.

As you trek your way through this album, you’re met with continual surprises. At the halfway point, ‘Bringing Light To Darkness’ offers up one of the most complex and rewarding experiences of the collection. The intensity of ‘Darkness’ then subsides for the atmospheric, uplifting ‘This Night Is Wonderful.’ That brings me to an important note: this music feels remarkably emotional. For a long-winded, entirely instrumental electronic effort, ‘A World At Peace’ conveys incredible emotion in its delivery. ‘Feel This Precious Moment’ is an elegant example of that. It’s a haunting track that’s surprisingly inviting and soulful as can be.

I should also touch on the production quality of this album. It’s superb. Gouzonis’ work flowed off my studio monitors blissfully and was suited to a quality sound system. The instrumentation is well mixed, well organized, and well performed. In the nearly two hours I spent with ‘A World At Peace,’ I remained in awe at its exceptional production. The closing of the record, ‘Glory,’ has a wonderful sense of finality as well, ending the collection on a high note.

The songs on ‘A World At Peace’ are mesmerizing, tactful, and gorgeous. It’s an effort that defies the norms of its genre and stands poignant and continually compelling. With that said, I didn’t find the songs painting portraits of film in my mind. The electronic nature of the instrumentation lends itself much better to vintage video games. ‘Glory’ would be a deafening success if applied to an early Metroid or Mega Man game. That’s not even a critique; the music just seems far more suited for the environment of a quality game versus a film. In any case, go listen to ‘A World At Peace.’ It’ll knock your socks off if you dig independent composers who truly understand and thrive on electronic composition. Gouzonis’ eighth effort is a triumph of originality and nostalgia.

Check him out online: http://www.sakisgouzonis.com/home.html