Your Hand In Mine: Every Night Dreams
Inner Ear

Every Night Dreams is a rather distinctive collection by Your Hand in Mine, a two-person outfit consisting of Manos Milonakis and George Papadupoulos from Thessaloniki, Greece. The hour-long recording can be enjoyed either autonomously as a collection of transporting vignettes or as it was designed, as a musical accompaniment to Mikio Naruse's 1933 silent film Yogoto No Yume which the duo presented live at Thessaloniki's International Film Festival in November 2007 (in the film's absence, the lovely illustrations by Benjamin Nerot shown in the CD's booklet—one image per song—function as a credible substitute). The duo's arrangements dazzle, and one would never guess the music's a product of two musicians when almost every piece presents a plenitude of largely acoustic sounds (Milonakis plays wurlitzer piano, melodica, toy piano, ukulele, accordion, and handles programming, while George plays guitar, synth, mandolin, zither, glockenspiel, and percussion). Arresting instrumental combinations abound: electric guitar and toy piano in “Sudative Luminareten,” piano-glockenspiel and mandolin-ukulele in “The Stranger,” accordion and mandolin in the waltz “At the Bar I,” and glockenspiel, accordion, and toy piano in the dirge “Fumio.” At the same time, some pieces feature one or two instruments only which helps prevent the album from becoming claustrophobic over the long haul.

Melancholy pervades even the most potentially uplifting song; “Tea Time,” for example, includes percussive playing that's almost funky but its jubilant spirit struggles up against the brooding ambiance Milonakis and Papadupoulos clearly gravitate towards. Familiarity with Yogoto No Yume, however, suggests that it's the film's narrative which explains their approach: in the film, a woman is deserted by her husband following the birth of their son; when he returns, the husband can't find work in depression-stricken Tokyo so when his son is injured in an accident, he commits a robbery to get money to pay for the medical care; when his wife rejects the money, the husband, tormented by shame, drowns himself (even if one is unfamiliar with the film, its tragic dimension is conveyed by song titles like “Please, Surrender” and “Take Care of Our Son”). Despite being so wistful in character, Every Night Dreams' material also exudes an innocent charm similar to the kind one finds in Yann Tiersen's music (his Amelie soundtrack, for example); the accordion waltz “At the Bar III,” for one, has Tiersen's name written all over it. Though many pieces are so short as to be fragments, each flows into the next, making Every Night Dreams an hour-long travelogue. All in all, it's the perfect soundtrack for a walking tour through Montmartre on an overcast September Sunday.

September 2008