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Vasilis Ginos, co-composer and keyboardist in one of the leading progressive-rock groups, PETE & ROYCE, and member of several other notable ensembles, ventures into new terrains of idiosyncratic creativity, proving that apart from being a pioneer musician he has the concentrated charisma (instinct, philosophical stance, knowledge and sense of responsibility) of a composer! Behind his massive electronic arsenal, he remains an explosive emotion catalyst, even when interacting with the artistic vision of other composers, the leaders responsible for the transformation of scholarly European musical tradition in a universal common sense.

Vintage and modern electronic sounds, programmed and performed by a visionary Vasilis Ginos, create brave new sounscapes, immersing the classic (actually, the "modern") past in the future, with an inspired, poetic quality, maintaining absolute psychological identification with the original material. An identification not obsessive or formal, but emotionally faithful, still sonically independent.

Ambigua - Act I is not a sterile, academic synthesizer transcription of notation and form but a transubstanciation of venerable tone-paintings to new age sonic experiences. Like creating from an archaic image of God its "metastasis" (a technologically advanced sound sculpture), in the future: no longer a biblical presence, frozen in time, but rather an up-to-date interactive mythology with impressive futuristic psychodynamic, guaranteeing longevity.

Despite its extreme scarceness, this is a very important record concerning the evolution of the Greek underground of the late 70s. Pete and Royce formed in the aftermath of the military junta that had been a deterrent for the Greek rock scene, having prevented a musical development concurrent with that of other European countries. To complete the picture, after the restitution of democracy, there was the obvious hostility of the Greek Communist party towards the “cultural imperialism of U.S. patterns of life” that added to the overall paranoia. Under these political constraints, the mid-’70s heralded an explosion in the Greek underground scene. The principal expressions of this phenomenon were the gradual change of several areas in Athens to freak hang-outs and the turning into rock clubs of many traditional folk music taverns. Unfortunately the local record companies were reluctant to release any underground rock music, leaving the majority of the groups of the era totally undocumented.

Pete and Royce were one of the few local progressive bands to buck this trend. Led by painter Pete Tsiros, they made a name in the underground network, based on lengthy hazed-out concerts and an uncompromising attitude. Their sound was deeply rooted in the UK progressive scene, sitting somewhere between the prog/psych sound of mid-period Pink Floyd and the mellotron school (Fantasy, Cressida, Kestrel) of mellow soundscapes. In 1980 they recorded and released the best tracks of their live shows, resulting in Suffering of Tomorrow, one of the first Greek private releases (on the mysterious Octoichos label) and one of the essential Greek progressive albums of all times.

So what is this odd rugged looking lp here? This platter has been called the "first" private press Greek prog lp from the "late and weird" period of prog where things were getting softer and more "living room" soft-strange (re: Mexican Scene ala Iconoclasta) and nearly all the raw homemade privates were starting to sound like Jeff Libermans (amazing) "Summertime" jam off his phemon "Synergy" rec- so dont have the 1980 year by Pete and Royce fool yeah: This Greek duo with all sorts of elaborate help are throwing down a wicked and tuneful dose of Cantenbury UK Cressida-slowed downed Gracious!- styled "Steel Mill" English UK worship deal that can fit right next to your Spring reboot and NOT be filed in next to your Socrates, Poll or Blue Birds wrecks.... Organ runs the game here: there are slight flashes of the claustrophobic high end synth lurch to bring/jerk you back to the 80's but the majority of the movements are rich lavish Hammond pensive deals that recall DOM "Edge of Time" as much as they lay lazily in the thick Emerson shadow. Great songs here: In classic PROG style there is a short intro to side two then a lengthy broken up long concept track about "Death and Decay" that'll sink your boat FAST into a pool of complex arrangements and gadgetry: all well played and thought out: nothing on DERAM was this whacked out, not the World Of Oz single played on 16rpm can get this Brit-close..Even somehow with what I image to be a small budget this thing does NOT sound like the 3 Grit Basement attack of the almighty YEZDA URFA: Instead its big clean sound with strong emphasis on the song writing and plenty o'hooks/ the heralded "interplay" is kept slightly and subtle in the back rendering. The beyond amazing cover art is gonna draw/line you in but the SONGAGE is gonna keep you on a one year + lease with option to lurk for an Original. There are many reasons to own this Pete and Royce jammer: 1) its the first time its on wax and as close you are gonna get to owning a Oktohxos-label deal w/o having a child JUST to sell on the black market for loot grip and OG- 2)its way better than the follow up "Days of Destruction" - 3)you can leave the cover laying around in your hut/zone next to your old school ANTI HERO sk8 decks so anyone over will be magnetized to the area by the raw homemade brilliance and booosh and instant convo igniter happens 4) if you are new to the Progressive school this is a fine entrance point before you hooked on the real raw shit like Cobra & Spectator Records camp/ or god forbid you will take the leap into the almighty Rock Progressivo Italiano..... So anyway you shape it up having "Suffering Of Tomorrow" your greasy mitts you are already gonna started turning SOMEONE off: but the nectar of which you ween from Pete and his homey Royce will far exceed whatever SUFFERING you are under a spell from....."

Remastered by members of Pete and Royce.

Officially licensed reissue from MusicBazz.

If you are a collector of obscure and rare psych & prog music I’m sure you've heard about Pete and Royce, but the problem is that you couldn't have found a copy, cos their two LP’s from early 80’s are very rare.
Greece had in the 70’s a very interesting underground scene going on. Many bands were formed in response to the imperialism, that was going on. Pete & Royce were formed in the late 70’s and played some concerts before releasing their LP. The shows they made were very “hazy” and highly influential by the early prog movements from UK.
Pete Tsiros (guitarist/singer) formed the band  around 1978 in Athens together with Lavrentis Tsinaroglou on (guitars/vocals), Basilis Ginos (keyboard), Fontas Chatzis (drums) and Elias Porfyris (bass). They recorded three albums, but the first two are the ones you must have! Suffering of Tomorrow was their debut, DIY project with only 500 copies released. It’s a mixture of early Pink Floyd albums (More album) and Cressida. I was really amazed when I first heard the recordings! I was sure the album is good, but I didn’t expect such an atmospheric sound on their album! Another thing I noticed immediately was the cover artwork, especially on the first album. Their second album called Days of Destruction is better as far it goes for production, but musically in my opinion a slight weaker then the debut. I only wish I could hear them live in some underground clubs in Greece back in the days!
You say to yourself, that’s all fine, but how to get this almost impossible to find, LP? Well, we can all thank to Musicbazz for reissuing both two albums! Digipack came with poster and liner notes about the band. The members are still alive and well and they helped to master this release, so it's fully licensed by the members. The sound on CD is really good, so it is the restored cover artwork. I usually don’t like CD’s very much, but man you gotta check the artwork on this Digipack! It blew my mind!

The 1970s were painful years for Athenians. Seven years of military dictatorship, beginning in 1967, brought uncertainty into the homes of all who had fought for three decades against the deep political division whose roots grew in the soil of Axis occupation and the Greek Resistance. It was a bitter time of cultural suppression and appeals to patriotism, rural simplicity, and secret torture clearinghouses. These kinds of parochial and inward looking cultural values have been argued as the doctrinaire stance of a prime minister with rural roots, a form of reactionary traditionalism, or an antidote to the Truman Doctrine and its kudzu vine of cultural imperialism. Strangely inconsistent lists of prohibited songs, films, and books—both foreign and domestic—were drawn up. Radio stations played martial music day and night. Yet while some artists found themselves censored or forced to play only folk styles, others, even Stones- and Cream-inspired blues-rock bands, somehow managed to play stadiums.

Despite the unevenness of cultural censorship during the Seven Years, local rock music scenes felt the pressure of deterrence. For, it was not only the nationalist right who attempted to douse the fire of American and Western European cultural influence. Greece’s Tito-funded far-left Communist party, the KKE, almost equaled the Colonels in cultural paranoia and anti-‘Western’ doctrine.[1] Between these dual pressures, a backlash of innovation occurred in the Greek underground scene. Exarcheia Square, a meeting place for Socialists, Freaks, and miscellaneous intellectuals, witnessed the Athens Polytechnic uprising in November 1973 (and remains a hub of Leftism to this day).  In the Plaka, Rebetiko taverns were converted into rock clubs. Many mainstream artists of this era hung up their bouzoukis in favor of electric guitar and keyboard sound inspired by Dylan, Zappa, King Crimson, and Genesis. Those who were there remember the creativity was as limitless as the conservative Greek society’s condemnation of it, which in turn inspired more and more implacably magical music and poetry. Record labels, although not strictly forbidden by law to release ‘European’-sounding albums did, however, practice self-censorship out of commercial trepidation.  Rebetiko and pop sold. Who would pay for the seeds of flowers yet to blossom? And so much joy and loss, so much rage and brilliance was never documented at all.

Two of the very few LPs recorded in those days have finally resurfaced. Pete & Royce, a band which spent it entire short life in Athens, was founded in 1978 or 9 by Panagiotis “Pete” Tsiros, an icon painter and guitar player from Kifisia, and synth-player Vassilis Ghinos, who would also be responsible for musical arrangements. In 1980, joined by Lavrentis Tsinaroglou, Ilias Porfiris, Christos Zorbas, and backed on some tracks by Apocalypsis, they home-recorded what would become Greece’s very first self-released record, Suffering of Tomorrow for Nick Georgoussis’ independent label, Oktohxos. Later that year and during the following year they returned, this time to Tiffany’s Studio, to record Days of Destruction, a more mainstream hard rock follow-up for a mysterious Greek label called Ocean. Critical acclaim at the time was reserved[2], but both albums capture the haunted and turbulent spirit of the era, as well as express very personal artistic visions.  Pete commanded artistic direction of the band, and so it evolved very much according to his own stylistic evolution from prog-psychedelia to hard rock and finally, on a third and unreleased album, to funk-rock. According to Christos Tsanakas, these three stylistic phases culminate in the demos for the third unreleased album.[3]

Suffering of Tomorrow is a concept album about death and decay, a poetic summation of inevitability, and the dissolution of all that we believe is permanent. It moves through an elegiac tunnel, with great generosity and even moments which feel like recompense to an unknown second-person. And indeed, the album is dedicated, obliquely, to Tsiros’ brother, who had died. Is it Pete’s brother whose face he sees on the moon and round whose grave he wends his guitarwork? But rather than a constantly dismayed optimism, the musical force is a pessimism designed to negate destructive forces, to exact a transformation of grief and despair. And for that, it succeeds in finding a warmth, maybe even an idealism beyond personal and political turbulence. Each of Suffering of Tomorrow’s six (really, eight) tracks features long, complex passages, parts of which seem as if they could be from a lost Pink Floyd album recorded sometime between Ummagumma and Obscured By Clouds, or a lost sister to the Anglo-prog sound of Cressida—one of the highest compliments one can pay, especially when we have no idea whether these albums were available to Pete and Vassilis. Other, more superficial touchstones might include Dom’s Edge of Time, and to a lesser extent the Swedish festival bands of the same era, such asÄlgarnas Trädgård and Harvester. Though the occasional Anatolian guitar or organ flourish roils through, the sound of Suffering of Tomorrow is distinctly un-Greek, unashamedly pan-European, and as such holds very little in common with Costa Tournas, Akritas, Aphrodite’s Child, and others who recorded for Greek Polydor. No less psychedelic or progressive than any of these, though perhaps more dystopian and pure, pure in the sense that Pete & Royce despised the phoniness and artistic compromise of their contemporaries who found shortcuts through the political haze to acceptability and stardom. And though not religious in any way, Suffering of Tomorrow is really a liturgical album with a rock structure; liturgical in the sense of leitourgía, a personal existential burden and public offering, the making manifest an unseen reality in its analog-electronic shifts, energetic guitar and organ lines that really search the air for something that has been lost, and reciprocally, offer something that has been found.

The title Days of Destruction clearly refers to this period of Greek political history, and at least three of the songs directly confront the political realities of Athens in 1981. “Passing Another Day” is a bittersweet ode to the impotence of inaction, frustrating but also full of mirth for the aesthetics of lost time, while “Dream” and the title track are concessions to the personal defeat felt by many young men in those days. It is an uneven album, not without the wistful late-night meandering of Suffering of Tomorrow, but less crepuscular and mysterious, more song-oriented and less of a sprawling concept album, more rollicking, and even less optimistic. The dedication to artistic purity so deeply felt in Suffering of Tomorrow seems more hung out. As a result, although the songs are distinctive, it is a less original album, a more ecumenical effort, whose finest qualities are still those of many prog albums of the era: an existential ache whose resolutions, and irresolution, you chart less formally and more in terms of poetics. In spite of this, these songs could not have been recorded in any other place or time. Days of Destruction is a rock album, raw and expressly amateurish, so much to say and no statements to make. Or perhaps the most salient form of political protest was to create something apolitical, something un-stereotypically Greek, to chase artistic purity and lyrical freedoms, rather than consciously protest anything.

The two albums by Pete & Royce are devoid of pretense, devoid of exercise, and entirely self-guided progressive blossoms from a tree now long chopped down to its stump. The core band members, by the mid-1980s, had gone their own ways, and only Vassilis stayed active in music. Attempts to contact them have been made, but as yet no sustained correspondence has been reached, and so the many mysteries of these two albums felt likely to remain until recently, against all odds, the albums were reissued, both on a single CD, and Suffering of Tomorrow as an LP, by Christos Tsanakas’ label Musicbazz. Extra demo tracks are also available at his Bandcamp site. Maybe the blood spilled by Cronus did not all fall into the sea!

[1] Interesting, perhaps even ironic, considering Athens is the seat of the literature fundamental to ‘Western’ cultural values.

[2] See reviews in Mousikí issue #32 (July 1980), and issue #44 (July 1981).

[3] A fourth album, released in 1984 by Royce, is an entry into the Italo-disco sweepstakes, and on which comment is not mine to make. Pete Tsiros also released a solo album of new age soundscapes sometime in the 1990s, but I have not yet been able to find a copy.