by Ella Fitzsimmons

On June 19th, the great and the good of London’s citizens were watching England’s World Cup hopes slip through their feet. Me? I was at the Garage in Islington to see Othon, the greatest Greek electronica musician since…Yanni?

I’d been pretty excited about the gig. The night before, my flatmate and I had interrupted some vital Tove Lo listening in the kitchen to switch over to Othon, who has just released an album, Pineal about the glories of ayahuasca as a mind expander. He plays ambient, ethno-music electronica. It’s the sort of thing people like me, who adored sage-to-the-hippies Tom Robbins when we were in our teens and who humbly brag about our international credentials, play at dinner parties instead of Coldplay and Pat Metheny Band.

After three beats of Othon, flatmate and I immediately started discussing how we really should be meditating more because our relationships with men indicated our chakras were blocked. Or something. We then had herbal tea instead of Waitrose’s Finest Organic Vino with our half-vegan food (creatures with ugly faces don’t count as animals, right? Sorry, fish of the world). Maybe that means Othon’s mission to enlighten the population is working. Or maybe that’s just what we talk about anyway.

Anyway. The gig. Good things: Othon’s music is a slick sound carpet, like the music to an Ashtanga yoga class gone slightly wrong. If you’ve been to a yoga party where everyone is just that little bit too knowledgeable about psychedelic drugs and the subtler elements of EXACTLY how their “friends” bodies can contort, you know what I mean. The insiders love it. Outsiders are amused, and have a bit of a sway and a dance and feel slightly better about themselves for questioning the status quo.

Othon’s at his best when he has a powerful soloist for the audience to focus on. The whole gig lifted when Marc Almond came on stage, and not just because he’s famous. To be enjoyed live, that sort of music really needs an extra squeeze of personality. Otherwise, it just becomes a bit same-ish. The violinist, who was on for several tracks, served the same purpose.

Less good things: the cultural appropriation that punctuated the show made me uncomfortable. Even if it’s been “OK’d” by shamans (as per the press release), seeing Othon in a shamanic headdress just made me think of Victoria Secret models wearing the same. Unnecessary. The lighting and the backdrop were pretty shambolic, but that might be the venue’s fault. And some of the singers were subpar.

All in all, though, an evening of hippie goodness. You don’t have to see Othon live, but it’s worth having his album on in the background. And yes, true to form, I stopped off at Waitrose on the way home.

One Response to “Othon”

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