Othon Mataragas

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Othon Mataragas
Othon Mataragas.jpg
Background information
Born (1979-07-30)30 July 1979
Athens, Greece
Genres Classical, Experimental Pop
Instruments Piano
Labels Durtro
Associated acts Ernesto Tomasini, Marc Almond, Current 93

OTHON, a.k.a. Othon Mataragas (born July 30, 1979), is a London-based Greek composer, pianist, songwriter, producer, DJ and club promoter. He is known for creating his own unique transcendental sound which he calls PAN and for combining classically infused composition with electronic productions and experimental songwriting. Apart from his solo work, he has collaborated with notable artists such as Marc Almond, David Tibet (of Current 93), Peter Christopherson (of Throbbing Gristle, Coil & Psychic TV), Ron Athey and Ernesto Tomasini.

Early life[edit]

Othon Mataragas started to play the piano at the age of four and the following year he gave his first recital. At seven he entered in the National Conservatoire (Greece) and graduated at sixteen with Distinction after winning the Prize of Exceptional Interpretation and the Xanthopoulidis Prize. While in Greece, Othon gave numerous recitals including a concert in the memory of Gina Bachauer.[1] organised by the Cultural Center of the City of Halandri. He appeared on Greek television both national (ERT, ANT1) and private (Blue Sky) and won several competitions and awards such as the National X.O.N. prize. At the end of the '90s he moves to London in the UK where he studies piano and composition at the Royal College of Music with British pianist Peter Katin, Birkbeck College and at Trinity College of Music with composers Andrew Poppy and Stephen Montague. As a Leverhulme Scholar at Trinity he wins the John Halford Prize. During this time he writes his first pieces but it is after leaving college that he begins his professional career as a composer and songwriter.

Projects & collaborations[edit]

Almond is among the first artists to spot his talent, others include David Tibet and Peter Christopherson, and Othon collaborates with them on various projects. In 2007, he performed a number of concerts with Current 93.[2] Other collaborations of note include those with composer Stephen Montague (Sonic Swamp, commissioned by Eye Music for the Colourscape Music Festival 2006), fashion designer Nasir Mazhar (London Fashion Week), photographer Hector de Gregorio[3] and performance artist Ron Athey with whom he performed in 2009 at the Napoli Teatro Festival Italia.[4] He composes music for the soundtracks of films by Bruce LaBruce (Otto; or, Up With Dead People), Derek Jarman (a new music setting for The Angelic Conversation, played live at the GLBT Film Festival in Turin)[5] and Jörg Buttgereit (new soundtrack of Nekromantik, played live at the Pre Final Fest in Rome)[3].

In 2005 and during his time at Trinity College, he meets Ernesto Tomasini with whom he starts an ongoing collaboration. As Othon & Tomasini they perform Othon’s music in concert halls, theatres, museums and churches all across Europe. In UK they performed in venues such as the Roundhouse, Leicester Square Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre and National Portrait Gallery.

Othon's debut album, Digital Angel, which features the voices of Almond, Tibet and Tomasini, was released at the end of 2008 on the Durtro Jnana label.[6][7]

Othon performs his signature piece Boxer Coaster wearing boxing gloves.

In October 2009 Othon gave the world premier of Boxer Coaster, the first piece ever composed for a pianist wearing boxing gloves, at the Pre Final Fest in Rome.

Othon's second album entitled Impermanence, which includes vocal performances by Ernesto Tomasini, Marc Almond, Camille O'Sullivan and Othon, and Justin Jones (from And Also the Trees), at the guitar was released by Cherry Red Records/SFE in November 2011. Impermanence was voted by leading Greek music website Postwave.gr the best Greek album of 2011.* [4]

Othon collaborated again with Ron Athey in 2011 for his large scale performance 'Gifts of the Spirit: Automatic Writing' in which he played under hypnosis while wearing boxing gloves and composed the soundtrack to performance artist Franko B's latest work entitled 'Because of Love'(2012).

Othon composed the soundtrack for the awarded graphic novel The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone, written by Ravi Thornton and published by Jonathan Cape, Random House in 2012.

Othon has composed & produced the soundtrack for Against Nature, based on the book À Rebours by Huysmans, after creating an overwhelmingly successful fundraising campaign with project collaborators Marc Almond and British writer Jeremy Reed (writer).*[5]

Othon's latest collaboration with German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans resulted in a piano concert at the Tate Modern, London, in March 2017. Othon performed a continuous set of dream-like semi-improvisations while Tillmans provided sonic interventions throughout the duration of the piece.

PAN and Pineal[edit]

Othon is the creator of his own musical style, which he calls PAN, a genre that transcends stylistic limitations and "where the only constant is creative honesty" (The Guardian, May 2014).

His third album Pineal, released in June 2014 by SFE/Cherry Red Records, after he raised money from a successful fundraising campaign (Indiegogo), “swings from cinematic pop and fierce shamanic techno to jungle evoking downtempo and violin driven electronica” and is a prime example of Othon’s PAN sound (music-news). Pineal, which features vocalists Marc Almond, Bird Radio, Ernesto Tomasini together with Peruvian shamans Javier Arevalo Shahuano and Jessica Ramirez Seopa, is the result of a series of mind-expanding Ayahuasca ceremonies while working with shamans in Brazil in 2012. The album’s title points to the pineal gland, traditionally responsible for mystical awakenings and inner visions. Ayahuasca, the powerful medicinal brew of the Amazon region, is said to be a pineal gland activator and has helped Othon to access parts of his psyche otherwise hidden (Cherry Red). The album includes a number of original photographs by Predrag Pajdic and was launched at The Garage, in June 2014.

DJing & Papa Loko[edit]

In September 2014, Othon gave his debut as a DJ for the World Ayahuasca Conference closing party in Ibiza.*[6] Othon felt very inspired by this new form of artistic expression and soon became a regular guest DJ at the London techno party KAOS. Othon’s DJ sets are creative and bold and often involve live elements. He aims to create sets that ‘would send the dancing crowds traveling to an emotionally abundant hyperspace.’*[7] In April 2015, Othon created his own party Papa Loko, a randomly organised night that aims to bring high frequency dance music to the underground club scene of London. *[8]

Discography[edit]

Albums

  • Digital Angel (Durtro Jnana, 2008)
  • Impermanence (Cherry Red Records/SFE, 2011)
  • Pineal (Cherry Red Records/SFE, 2014)

EPs

  • Cobra Coral (Cherry Red Records/SFE, 2014)

Singles

  • Last Night I Paid To Close My Eyes (Cherry Red Records/SFE, 2011)
  • Impermanence (Cherry Red Records/SFE, 2011)
  • Dawn Yet To Come (Cherry Red Records/SFE, 2014)
  • Japan Suite (Black Hole Recordings/Magic Island Deep, 2015)

Others

  • Otto; or, Up With Dead People (Crippled Dick Hot Wax Records, 2008)
  • Silky Hands of a Rough Piano Boy (Tapeworm, 2011)


References[edit]

  1. ^ PANAYOTAKOS Panos, 'πανκ οργή σε ένα πιάνο' (Punk rage on a piano), in Eleftheros Typos, 24 April 2007 (article/interview)
  2. ^ MATTEI Paolo, RINALDO Arianna, BASILICO Gabriele, Abettercity, Cartiere del Garda, Italia, 2007, p.127
  3. ^ DESIENNA Luca, Gomma, issue 3, Spring/Summer 2007, p. 126 (interview)[1]
  4. ^ History of Ecstacy, directed by Ron Athey, sound design by Othon Mataragas, 6 June 2009, Napoli Teatro Festival Italia [2]
  5. ^ DVORKIN Evgenij, 'Musik wie Sex' (Music like Sex), DU&ICH, Nr. 459, December 2008 / January 2009, pp. 24-25 (interview)
  6. ^ CASCADES A. G., 'Angel o Diablillo' (Angel or Demon) in Shangay, No. 346, 29 December 2008, p. 14 (interview)
  7. ^ GOTTERT Michael, LOBSTEDT Daniela, 'Othon', in Black, No. 50, 2009

Interviews & reviews[edit]

External links[edit]