New age visionary Iasos has taken some time off from blowing minds with his aural musings, and now opts to induce awe with his video skills instead. We last saw the Greek god drop jaws with his video for Teengirl Fantasy's "Cheaters"; here, he brings James Pants' "Cloud Over The Sea" to new heights with psychedelic sunsets, technicolor oceans, and endless streams of gold. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones (Gorilla Vs Bear co-premiere)
In 1965, the story goes, a young cultural anthropology student by the name of Iasos spontaneously began hearing "heavenly" sounds in his head; he called this music "paradise music," finished up his degree at Cornell, and moved to California with the mission of recreating this sound with a combination of electronic effects and acoustic instruments like piano and flute. In 1975, he released his debut album, Inter-Dimensional Music Through Iasos; alongside the seminal Spectrum Suite LP by close friend and collaborator Steve Halpern, which came out the same year, Inter-Dimensional Music remains one of the foundational releases of the New Age genre. Since then, Iasos has released some 30 cassettes and LPS of his ecstastic, ambient soundscapes, and has helped shaped the aesthetics of New Age with his luminous video art.
When it came time to interview Iasos for The Report V.II, I was intimidated as hell. Lucky for me, all anxiety melted away the moment the Greek-born, Sausalito resident picked up the phone. "How long would you like to me to speak for?" he asked, admitting that he can "be quite wordy." "Go for it," I replied. And he did. The conversation that ensued, which is about 10 pages too long to print here, isn't so much an interview as me throwing a few subjects into the air and letting Iasos wax on topics like Paradise Music, his creative inspiration from muses Vista and Pan, and his experiences building his own instruments. In the following excerpt, Iasos discusses his initial dislike of synthesizers, his visual art, and the transformative potential of sound.
The Report: You mentioned before that you stared making music before synthesizers were available.
Iasos: Before synthesizers, I was doing electronic processing of acoustic instruments. For example, you might put a microphone on a flute, hooked up to an echoplex. Or a microphone on a piano, and do something that gives it a vibrato. I was just fooling around with all kinds of stuff. It was guided experimentation, because when Vista would send me a new music idea, it would come in a flash, and I’d get three things simultaneously: number one, the music, which means melody and chords; number two, technical know-how, or how to create the sounds necessary to manifest a piece. Thirdly, he’d give me the effect that this piece of music would have on people when they listened to it. He’s always been 100% accurate about how it’s going to affect people. So I’d get all of that in the same flash from Vista.