Sakis Gouzonis is Greek, hailing from the same locale as Vangelis Papathanissiou, from whom he has borrowed much. First Contact is a completely electronic music venture, his third so far, with the first two being Christian oriented, which this one is also in sentiment (the liner notes make that more than obvious), though it stands well as a kind of Chariots of Fire CD.
Gouzonis also incorporates elements of Wendy Carlos, Larry Fast, and Patrick Gleason, not to mention Giorgio Gomelsky and Walter Murphy, into his style, which actually bases in the old Tangerine Dream school (listen to Vangelis' premiere work in Aphrodite's Child, and you can see where he, too, borrowed from Froese & Co. for his later solo voice). Thus, there are a lot of pulse and serial elements throughout the disc but with a bit of an unfortunate latterday incorporation: the dreaded Yanni influence. Yep, a tad too much saccharinity resides alongside a bunch of more serious modes, vitiating the topside of the whole.
Then again, this is intended for Gouzonis' voluminous MySpace audience, which numbers a very healthy percentage of Christers within it. Kandy-koated music is a grail to those people, so he has his audience wired pretty well. However, this keyboard player tracks in just enough Jean-Michel Jarre to force the admission that he's quite a good composer, kind of like the old Erdenklang traceline that never really got off the ground, having attempted too early to reconcile New Age with prog. That gambit is occurring only now, with the Ancient Future and other labels.
First Contact is non-stop exaltative, celestial, a matter of bright shining clouds, angels, and feel-good vibes, a decad of tracks designed to uplift and revivify. Unlike the work of, say, Michael Garrison, however, Gouzonis has no dark elements to his compositions and thus fails to establish contrasts, which can be a bit tedious as the disc proceeds. Too, some of his patch choices weren't the best (as in the intro to Sea of Sorrow), but those who like this kind of electronica are going to be very happy with it…though I won't necessarily be one of them.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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