Album Review: Jánnos Eolou – Tangos Of The Magic Reality

Jánnos Eolou is a Thessaloniki, Greece-based composer who has just caught my attention thanks to his wonderfully creative collection Tangoes Of The Magic Reality.

By Graeme Smith

Magic Realism is an artistic movement that incorporates elements of magic into an otherwise story of real-life. It’s a difficult feat to replicate in music, but that’s what Jánnos has done with his collection and the result is a fascinating and whimsical journey through a world resembling ours but not quite.

It’s a full concert composition performed by the Sofia Soloists Chamber orchestra on strings, Margarita Ilieva on piano, Dimitris Arabatziz on accordion and conducted by Konstantin Dobroykov. The journey starts in dramatic fashion with Long Summer Shaddows. It’s a punchy composition with the vibrancy you’d expect from a tango. There’s a playfulness to it, but also a sense of the epic as its narrative unfolds.

Panther feels sultry and romantic while Maze is pensive and reflective, expertly creating the excitement and trepidation of being deliberately lost. Wind on Sand is delightfully lively and intricate. Erased Notebook swoons with sense of passion. Star Necklace is a sweeping piece that combines classic and modern elements beautifully.

Skopelos brims with a sense of reluctant adventure. Panama Hat then casts all reluctance aside. Elysee sits at the heart of the album providing a pacy, rumbling piano-led focal point before Trying To Remember What I Can’t Forget gives us wistful melancholia. Jealousy burns with the fire of the envy it describes. You Are My Book finishes the album’s second act with a sense of love that’s tinged with mystery.

Minotaur canters along while Smokey Eyes slows things down with mystical romance. Peacock is similarly slow but with an undercurrent of bright optimism. Mirrors expands on that brightness while adding in a sense of urgency. Waiting Long simmers beautifully before we get the short but profound coda of Elysee II.

There’s such a wonderful sense of adventure that burns right through Tangos Of The Magical Reality. Jánnos knows how to breath life into his compositions and they are beautifully realised by the orchestra. I guarantee you won’t have heard tangos like these before.

Tangos Of The Magic Reality was recorded in Sofia at Four For Music and Thessaloniki at Cue Productions Studios. It was produced by Georgi Elenkov PhD. Engineering is by Plamen Penchev, Angelia Vihrova, Vladislav Boyadjiev and Yannis Mavridis. You can listen to the album below.