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A musician of many worlds and styles September 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Momus, a multifaceted act, plays at Bios in downtown Athens tomorrow

Returning to Athens to perform after a lengthy absence from the city’s live music circuit, indie act Momus, or Nick Currie, a former temporary resident here whose string of past geographical wanderings have proven as diverse as his sound, is to perform at the Bios venue in downtown Athens tomorrow night.

The evening will also feature a support slot from visual artist and folk-pop musician Mathew Sawyer and his backing band, the Ghosts, fresh from a recent outing at the Meltown Festival, a highly regarded annual event that is held in London and curated by respected musical figures each year, its latest artistic director being Jarvis Cocker.

In his 20 years as a recording artist, Momus, who has spent time living in Greece, Canada, France and Japan, has released work almost annually. Though his recorded output has enjoyed a steady flow, the 46-year-old, whose styles have swung from synth pop to indie rock, performs less frequently these days. Momus’s rate of work has been consistent but the content, which, on occasions, has covered daring lyrical ground, has proven too controversial for certain listeners.

The industry’s periphery has been his home, and Momus has been branded a “provocateur”. A 1991 release titled “Hippopotamus” which was dedicated to the late French musical guru Serge Gainsbourg, was described as a sex-themed album for children. Besides drawing fire from concerned social groups, the release also led to a lawsuit from the tire company Michelin, which reacted to a reference in the lyrics to the firm’s mascot, the Michelin Man. An out-of-court settlement was reached.

As was proved soon after, the album’s lyrical content was not far from the truth. Three years later, Momus, then 34, made tabloid news for marrying a girl half his age; she was 14 when they met. As with his music, Momus’s relationship drew him into a controversial, and underground, personal life. The bride-to-be’s stunned parents sent their teenage daughter back to their native Bangladesh for an arranged marriage, but she escaped, returned to London, married her chosen groom, and the newlyweds went into hiding in Paris, fearing she would be kidnapped by her family.

Despite the accumulated alarm Momus has remained a committed songwriter and even wrote some chart-topping material, including five consecutive top-five hits penned for a Japanese pop singer, Kahimi Karie. A 1995 release, “The Philosophy of Momus” typifies the songwriter’s unpredictable musical interest. Momus squeezed reggae, blues and techno tracks onto the one release. His course’s range is also reflected in a more recent double-CD compilation, 2003’s “Forbidden Software Timemachine: Best of the Creation Years, 1987-1993”. As for the stylistic direction of his live set tomorrow, that remains to be heard.

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