Home | Contact | Demos | Imprint   
Artists Labels Radio Shop Visuals
Aestrata Submental Nuur Wintersilence Nautic Depths Quiet Calling El Hadra Klaus Wiese Tomas Weiss Mathias Grassow & Tomas Weiss Anthony Paul Kerby Gary Johnson Solveil / Con_Sense Circulum Musicum Duff Egan Roderick Packe Deep Colours Subtle Motion Musical Therapy Slow Current Xoon

Tania Giannouli Ensemble - Transcendence

Transcendence, the first album by the newly formed Tania Giannouli Ensemble is a challenging, musically literate tour-de-force. These richly textured, beautifully balanced compositions are performed with great rigour and passion, but above all they are strikingly honest and direct. This album is full of lyricism and originality, and the used orchestrations can be described as ‘intoxicating, characterized by a sensibility that evokes the colour of the Mediterranean’.

The pressed CD comes with a 20 page booklet in a stunning luxury Digipak-Book.



Ordering Information:

By ordering the CD you will ADDITIONALLY get the full album as a download in the format of your choice in highest quality (mp3 or FLAC) - after your payment has arrived, we will contact you as soon as possible by email, latest within 12 hours, to provide you a personal link for the digital version.

GREEK Customers:

If you are based in Greece you can purchase the CD for the reduced price of 19 Euro only including shipping (please find all possible payment options in the next paragraph). All incoming orders from Greece will be shipped on the same day from Athens so you can expect a very fast delivery (1-2 working days).

Payment Information:

We offer several payment options:

:: PayPal - just click on the "Buy Now" PayPal button.

:: Credit Card - as PayPal allow payments via Credit Cards even WITHOUT having a PayPal account, just click on the "Buy Now" button and choose on the next opened PayPal site the tab "Pay via Credit Card" to find BENEATH the PayPal login tab which always opens by default.

:: Bank Transfer (national / international) - in case you neither have a PayPal account nor a Credit Card, this option works well because it´s FREE for all customers based in the Eurozone. To place an order via Bank Transfer please use the provided link BELOW the PayPal buttons.

Luxury Digipak-Book + Digital Download

Greece ordering - 19 Euro (including shipping)

Rest of world ordering - 21 Euro (including shipping)

To pay by Bank Transfer (national/international), click HERE (also for multiple orders)



"Now this is a record I’ve been waiting to hear for some time now – the new, second album by Greek pianist Tania Giannouli.

I first stumbled upon her music in a video art exhibition in Tel Aviv, where it was used in one of the works presented. Her style had immediatley caught my ear. It was mysterious, cinematic, alive. It was brilliant. The new album Transcendence (out on Rattle Records from NZ) is exciting, inspiring and one of the most beautiful records I’ve heard this year. Hey, it’s an album that inspired me enough to write about it after a long period of time that I hadn’t written here, right?

Obsession. That was the tune that first caught my ear. Tania is writing music for films, features and documentaries, dance and as I mentioned – art project. The reason I like her music so much is because I can see the scene, the actual visual scene behind the music, that in this case wasn’t written for picture. When I heard Obsession, it sound as the main theme of a lost Almadovar film. Something between The Skin I Live In to Talk To Her. Strange, a bit disturbing, made me shrink a bit, but very beautiful.

When I heard the full album, I realized there’s more to it then just the cinematic scenes embedded in the music. It was that refreshing new take on modern jazz , classical, and a correct dose of experimental minimalistic mood expression by the ensemble players. The album is rich with sounds and colors and hides surprising moments throughout, and the arrangements are beautiful. Everytime I hear this album it reminds me, in a most positive way, of Eberhard Weber‘s masterpiece Later That Evening. Music that gently sits on a cloud, hovering above. Not touching the earth and thus, keeping itself clean. It also brought to my mind some of the late Bernardo Sassetti works, especially his brilliant Unreal:Sidewalk Cartoon.

To me, it sounds like a lost ECM album, but by browsing around Rattle Records’ catalog, it seemed that she’s in good hands." (Small Town Romance Blog - Tel Aviv)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Transcendence is the new album from Greek pianist, improviser, and composer Tania Giannouli, recorded with her group, the Tania Giannouli Ensemble.

Giannouli works within a variety of creative genres, including electronic music, theatre, film, jazz, classical, and folk traditions. Her music for theatre and film has been performed at various festivals, galleries, biennials, and museums in many countries around the world. Her work is largely piano-based, and frequently features improvisation. In 2012, she recorded ‘Forest Stories’ with Portuguese wind multi-instrumentalist and improviser, Paulo Chagas. The album (her first for Rattle Records) received significant international recognition, including recognition as the best Greek improvised music album of 2013.

Transcendence features Alexandros Botinis on cello, Guido de Flaviis on saxophones, Solis Barki on percussion and idiophones, and guest musician Giannis Notaras on drums.

The album is comprised of contemporary compositions that reflect Giannouli’s interest in folk music (Greek particularly) and contemporary techniques in composition. Each piece reveals her unique gift for combining diverse musical elements into a single unified composition. The overall mood is romantic, with the ensemble providing subtle improvisations that evoke the sounds of nature. Some tracks, such as ‘Faster Than Wear’, stand out as examples of Giannouli’s unique approach to orchestration, her ability to combine sounds to produce a unique and compelling aural texture. Transcendence is full of unexpected sonic and emotional shifts, which perfectly compliment Giannouli’s synthesis of musical styles. The result is an album distinguished by excellence in both performance and production." (Klasika ir džiazas, July 2015)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Transcendence provides a most flattering portrait of Tania Giannouli as a pianist, composer, and arranger. The fifty-minute collection by the Athens, Greece-based band-leader features nine richly textured settings that cover ample stylistic ground and do so in oft-intoxicating manner. Leading a stellar modern chamber ensemble featuring cellist Alexandros Botinis, saxophonist Guido de Flaviis, percussionist Solis Barki, and guest drummer Giannis Notaras, the pianist weaves elements of classical, jazz, and Greek folk music into pieces that impress on both performance and composition levels.

Her works for theatre, film, and video have been performed at festivals, galleries, and museums throughout the world, and all of the ensemble members are distinguished musicians who bring extensive formal training and experience to the project. The passion with which they execute their performances is a major reason why the album impresses as much as it does, and, in engaging with Giannouli's material so fervently, the musicians come across as considerably more than hired hands.

“The Weeping Willow” inaugurates the album auspiciously with a brooding, piano-centric rumination atmospherically enhanced by bowed effects and other ambient treatments. Though understated in tone, it's nevertheless a powerful opener for the control and rigour with which the musicians bring the material to life. Perhaps more characteristic of the album is the entrancing second piece, “The Sea,” which, distinguished as it is by a serpentine theme voiced in turn by cello and soprano saxophone, proves to be a model of small-group ensemble playing. It's an especially haunting composition that accentuates the lyrical dimension in Giannouli's writing as well as showcases her deft accommodation of improvised playing within a tightly scripted setting.

There are times when the influence of her Greek homeland seeps into the material. During “Sun Dance,” for example, rhythms swing with an aggressive insistence, and the woodwinds and strings wail with the kind of unbounded fervour one hears in klezmer at its most free-spirited. And though it begins with a nostalgic piano intro, “From Foreign Lands” lunges into its swinging folk rhythms and sinuous themes with aplomb once that formal opening is done.

While Transcendence has its share of stately, chamber-styled moments (“The Time Will Come”), there are others that see the group playing with unbridled ferocity (“Faster That Wear”) and realizing Giannouli's soundworld with improv-styled conviction (“Mad World”). Admittedly, there are times during Transcendence when one might be reminded of Piazzolla (the closing “Untold” plays like a veritable homage to the tango master) and Eleni Karaindrou, but this remarkable album ultimately makes the strongest case for Giannouli as a composer and artist in her own right." (Textura - July/August 2015)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"The previous album by Greek pianist/composer Tania Giannouli which appeared at Elsewhere was a duet recording Forest Stories with saxophonist/flautist and clarinet player Paulo Chagas and -- for no other reason than they were improvised pieces. It was such a fascinating album we invited Giannouli and Chagas to answer separately our Famous Elsewhere Jazz Questionnaire (see here and here) even though some might not have thought of them as "jazz" musicians.

This time out with a suite of compositions meditating on time and change with her small international ensemble (from Russia, Spain and Greece on cello, saxophone and percussion) we place her in our Cultural Elsewhere pages -- for no other reason than these pieces are largely scored and refer more to the classical tradition. (And world music, especially on the North African/Mediterranean piece Sun Dance it must be said.)

So it would be an unwise person who would put Giannouli in any particular box.

While Sun Dance ends with a furious rush of energy and saxophone passages from Guido De Flaviis which take off from stately ECM then move rapidly into something akin free jazz fury, the following piece The Time Will Come opens with a delicate piano figure and the reflective music descends into a shadowland of emotion through Alexandros Botinis' cello and long lines on soprano saxophone.

And the strident Faster Than Wear -- which might be the most improvised here -- is the most challenging for its tightly-wound energy, relentlessness and sense of rage. In the liner notes she says this album is about her motherland, and you suspect when she recorded this one in particular she was mindful of the crisis which was to come.

But in other places there is a Romantic classicism, as on the opening passages on From Foreign Lands, before we are swept off to Maghreb by Solis Barki's percussion and an Arabic influence in cello and saxophone.

This is Tania Giannouli's second album for New Zealand's Rattle label and it has been a profitable association. The label is clearly giving her the scope she requires (she also writes for film and video) because her widescreen vision is best left unconstrained.

File her under classical, jazz, world music or where you will - If you dare file her at all." (Graham Reid - Elsewhere NZ)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Greek pianist and composer Tania Giannouli is accompanied on this album by Guido De Flaviis on saxophone, Alexandros Botinis on cello, Solis Barki on percussion and idiophones and Giannis Notaras as a guest on percussion. The music could be a soundtrack, full of romantic sentiments, but without overdoing it, with an aesthetic that could be compared to many ECM albums: accessible, beyond genre, wonderfully performed and produced.

Giannouli mines deeply in the sounds of the Mediterrean and of various musical styles, using dramatic nature evocations as in "The Sea", folk elements as in "Sun Dance", modern composition as in "Mad World", or very unique sounds as in "Faster Than Wear".

An album with lots of rich ideas, a great variety of approaches yet miraculously coherent in its end result." (Steff Gijssels - Free Jazz Collective)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"The first thing one realises when listening to Transcendence, the debut album of the Tania Giannouli Ensemble, is that the substantial quality of the best contemporary Greek music is constantly on the rise, and secondly that Giannouli (who made her Rattle debut with the darkly melancholic, post-industrial Forest Stories in 2012) has made a decisive step forward in her musical path with this fine recording.

Where Forest Stories was minimal and brooding, Transcendence is more open and propulsive. It’s a very mature, complex, and multi-layered work. Each composition has impressive rigour and precision – there are no wasted notes – and together they flow effortlessly to produce an aesthetically and emotionally rich work.

The ease with which Giannouli handles the intricacies (and, at first glance, incongruities) of the material is impressive, blending folk and world colours with avant-garde, contemporary classical and jazz soundscapes, from the melancholic melodies and lush rhythms of The Sea and Sun Dance to the explosive rhythmical outbursts of From Foreign Lands, Obsession and Anti-Masque (a bonus track available from the Rattle site), and the bold imaginative strokes of Mad World.

By turns charming, visceral, lyrical, energetic, but always stimulating, Transcendence will appeal to those with unprejudiced musical instincts, those who are open to new musical stimuli and to using their imagination. This compelling work will leave no one indifferent, unaffected, or untouched." (Dimitris Trikas - Popaganda)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Pianist Giannouli’s dedication to sharp imagery gives the impression that she’s always got a film in mind when creating a new composition. Modern classical, modern jazz, folk and Greek musics all inform her newest. Soft ambient passages alternate places in the spotlight with those much freer and of a sharper edge. Modern classical, modern jazz, folk and Greek musics all inform her newest. Soft ambient passages alternate places in the spotlight with those much freer and of a sharper edge." (Dave Sumner - Bird is the worm)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Transcendence consists of nine Giannouli compositions, music that reflects "nostalgia for an as yet unknown happy future", as she put it in the CD liner notes. The music defies categorisation, but reflects a variety of influences: avant-garde, jazz, world, and chamber music. Several titles allude to nature: "The Weeping Willow", "Sun Dance", "The Sea". This last piece, intense and melancholic, highlights the cohesion between the three soloists, while "Obsession" and "From Foreign Lands" are characterized by driving rhythms.
Lyrically rich but never rhetorical, Transcendence presents an artist who will be worth following closely: we are sure to hear more from Tania Giannouli in the future. Gifted with a restless creativity, she is currently collaborating with Greek poet Evgenios Aranitsis." (Alessandro Michelucci, Cultura Commestibile)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Tania Giannouli is a jazz pianist, and her previous album, Forest Stories (with Paulo Chagas) would have fallen into our Jazz category. So why have we placed her new collection in Modern Composition? The answer is simple. With the expansion to an ensemble, Giannouli has also modified her sound. As much influenced by classical as by jazz, Transcendence is a true genre-jumper. While most tracks lean one way or the other, the overall impression is that of a tiny orchestra.

The pieces of Transcendence are also classifiable by mood. Some are obvious, and visual aids help. The languid, melancholic “The Sea” seems designed for a relaxing evening, lapping waves and a bottle of wine. The video is fairly simple, hiding the fact that the piano lines are quite complex. One of Giannouli’s strengths is the impression of improvisation even in the midst of composed work. Guido de Flaviis’ saxophone is the smooth, jazzy influence, while Alexandros Botinis’ cello provides a dark classical undertone. A better video is the noir-ish “Obsession”; the black-and-white cinematography brings out the longing in the music. In this piece, Snares play a major role in establishing the dramatic forward march of an obsessed heart. The most effective (and slightly chilling) moment of the video arrives at 4:30, when one of the actresses stops looking at the moon/skylight and gazes directly into the camera; but the compositional moment that sets up the scene arrives a minute earlier, when the snares relent, creating a vacuum. The prelude to “Obsession” can be found as far back as the opening track, “The Weeping Willow”. This sparse piece bears an ominous sheen, as if sadness is about to turn into something dark and undefinable.

The album’s catchiest tracks lie in between. “Sun Dance” and “Faster Than Wear” come across like a Mediterranean family gathering, filled with food and festivity. One imagines shirt sleeves rolled up and dresses twirling as men and women dance on terra-cotta terraces. The first piece is Botinis’ showcase, while the second is a playground for Giannouli. It’s wonderful to encounter a performer who can draw from so many moods in order to create a unified set. One wonders if transcendence may refer to a state beyond emotion, one of inner calm, in which all emotion has been spent, and replaced by peace. By contrasting formal, stately classicism (the opening bars of “From Foreign Lands” and the echo at 4:51) with untamed revelry (“Mad World”), Giannouli suggests a pas de deux between mind and emotion, leading to the discovery of a third presence, the spirit. Closing piece “Untold” wraps this up nicely: once again sedate, still looking up: no longer obsessed, but inspired." (Richard Allen - A closer listen)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Tania Giannouli’s second album for New Zealand lable Rattle finds the Greek pianist/composer in fine form. Recorded with the recently formed Tania Giannouli Ensemble, Transcendence combines classical, jazz, romanticism, Mediterranean folk, and even a touch of minimalism, but it’s the deft manner by which these styles are used that is most impressive, balancing strong melodies and improvisation that at times reaches the limits of abstraction. It’s this subtle combination that makes Transcendence one of the most interesting releases of this year." (Antonis Fragos - Music Paper)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Seldom does an author of a musical work reflect the mood of an entire state as effectively as Greek pianist/composer Tania Giannouli has on her new album, Transcendence. Known for her previous collaboration with Paulo Chagas on Forest Stories, Giannouli’s new work intersects jazz and classical forms with traditional Greek folk music. As interpreted by the Tania Giannouli Ensemble (Guido De Flaviis on the saxophones, Alexandros Botinis on cello, Solis Barki on percussion and idiophones, and Giannis Notaras on drums), this beautiful music transmits a feeling of hope driven by determination – if not anger – and the nostalgia for “an unknown and happy future”.

As Giannouli writes in the booklet notes, "This record is about my motherland". The context is what we know: the lords of Europe and the global economy sacrifice the people to policies focused on money rather than people. After years of misery, Greece is the only one to answer them with a defiant "not acceptable”. We don't know what will happen next, but for the moment it’s surprising and comforting that it’s possible to make art, and moreover, art as fine as this." (Rui Eduardo Paes - www.jazz.pt)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Transcendence by the Tania Giannouli Ensemble is a gorgeous, nuanced instrumental album that recently caught my ear. The Greek pianist and composer leads a superb ensemble that explores varied pieces ranging from the minimalist to the mercurial. It's an album beyond genres, meshing the universes of new music, jazz as well as several world music influences. It's a superb listen for anyone with open ears." (Anil Prasad - Innerviews, July 2015)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Based in Athens, Tania Giannouli is a classically trained pianist and composer who has already performed or composed extensively for several multimedia projects including film, dance, theatre, video art and animated shorts. She is also a founding member of two improvisational ensembles and of Emotone, a project for eclectic new electronica ambient and modern classical with electronic musician and partner Tomas Weiss.

After recording Forest Stories in 2012, a collection of eight improvisations for piano and wind instruments alternating between avant-garde and free jazz with Portuguese reed player and improviser Paulo Chagas, Tania Giannouli and her newly formed ensemble have just released Transcendence in May 2015 last on Rattle Records.

Joined by Guido De Flaviis on saxophones, Alexandros Botinis on cello, Solis Barki on percussion and idiophones – and guest Giannis Notaras on drums – Transcendence is a perfectly balanced record allowing each instrument plenty of space and amplitude. If jazz and improvisation still underpin Giannouli’s approach, the nine new compositions arranged for her ensemble also borrow from classical or avant-garde (“Mad World”) and from Greek folk music (Sun Dance”), imparting an overall and consistent modern classical feel to the entire record. Many tracks (such as “From Foreign Lands” for instance) could well accompany a short film or different movie scenes as the compositions seem to follow a classic storytelling arc – a short exposition followed by a radical rhythmic change rising to a climax and ending with a resolution. Dramatic glissandi on the cello, fluttering notes on the soprano saxophone and percussive shifts on the piano and percussions provide the underlying tension throughout. For me, this music reflects on a wild and crazy world that surely cannot be all there is, and nostalgia for an as yet unknown happy future. Above all, this album is about my motherland (Tania Giannouli – cover notes).

An ode to the Mediterranean maritime landscape and culture, the music on the album also echoes the ongoing government-debt crisis Greece has been experiencing over the last few years. Tania Giannouli’s passionate compositions and ensemble playing provide a superb creative response" (Guillaume Janssen - Spellbinding Music, July 2015)

> Back to top