1 Arcadia 14:40
2 Arclight 18:33
3 Filtered Through Haze 8:35
4 Proxima Obscuro 13:47
5 Into Dust 10:35
6 Panthera 10:26
7 Cherry Bomb 11:16
DiN | DDL17 (DDL 88:11) *****
(Modern, dark and haunting Berlin School)
The concert that Arc gave at the Capstone Theatre in Liverpool in the middle of November 2014 had raised a wave of passion on the social networks. The legion of fans of the English duet, which is scattered in every corner of the globe, have read the numerous comments from the handful of fortunate who were able to see this show in a surrounding wall of the Liverpool Hope University. Centered mainly on ashes of the majestic Umbra, this concert was the object of extremely laudatory and admiring comments. On the other hand it became also object of a massive request from the fans of Arc so that it could one day be released officially. The rumor mill was thrown and Ian Boddy officialized the whole thing on his Twitter account at the end of June. And with about 90 minutes of EM in the purest Arc/Redshift tradition, “Arclight” fulfills the request of the most demanding. Ian Boddy didn't want to deprived the fans of nothing by making the complete editing of this show which has finally landed in its entirety on the DiN download platform, following so the principle of the concert he had performed with Erik Wollo at the Electronic Circus V in 2012; EC12. And if I remember well, there was a video (it's always there, I verified) of 30 minutes which gave an even more real dimension of this concert. Shall we also be entitled to this small little treat? But for now, let's speak about “Arclight”...
What jumps at once in ears, and contrary to Umbra, Ian Boddy has removed all the noises of the audience. Of the slightest sigh of surprise to the smallest applause, so giving to “Arclight” this impression that it precedes Umbra. That it's the studio album on which Umbra has spread its sound tentacles And when our ears cross the delicate permutations of the roles, as the heaviness and the ringings of "Arcadia" or still this guitar which accompanies the fluty singing of "Cherry Bomb", we understand that Mark Shreeve and Ian Boddy have decided to give some more of relief to the shadows of Umbra. The nuances in "Arcadia" are subtle but oh how much important. If the rhythm seems to me heavier, details are even better defined. As this line a bit fluty which cavorts in a more cosmic envelope. The pulse of the rhythm also seems to me more incisive. But there, I dive really in details. What it is necessary to retain is that there are 3 additional tracks to Umbra. Three music pieces which complement the first chapter about shadows with more than 35 minutes of additional new e-music. And if we do the calculation; the sonic adventure of Umbra borders the 120 minutes of pure electronic delight. So no applauses? Thus Ian Boddy worked again the intros and outros, giving even more the illusion than this “Arclight” was of use as base to the concert that Arc had performed at the E-Live Festival of 2013. From Umbra there is only Arcadia, Proxima Obscuro, Panthera and Cherry Bomb. And I insist on telling you that each of these tracks possess reflections which are absent on Umbra. Among others, Panthera and Cherry Bomb are breathtaking. And what about the novelties?
The title-track is the highlight of “Arclight”. It's a kind of of mixture between Panthera and Cherry Bomb with phases of rhythm sometimes nervous and explosive which extricate of ambient corridors perfumed of nebulosity. Beautiful pads of celestial voices filled with thin lines of flute are opening its atmospheres. The union of this big ethereal choir of vampiric pads and to some acute tears of synth decorate the first seconds of a powerfully dramatic veil. And these tears, these sighs and these pads float like suspended winds and release a kind of morphic fog that a heavy and agile line of sequences chase away after only 3 minutes of a celestial massage of our tympanic membranes. Eardrums which needed it because if the rhythm is heavy and livened up, the ornaments are of a wealth at the grandiloquent image of the English duet. At the beginning the rhythm seems hesitating. The keys skip on the spot, a little as if they waited for a signal. Another line of sequences unfolds a structure knotted in riffs. And when the whole starts to vacillate, this signature of Arc for rhythms at both oscillatory and zigzagging infiltrate our ears and crawl along our walls. Splendid demonic pads are painting the ambiences of a darkness a la Redshift while the guitar of Ian Boddy chisels the moods by tortured solos. The sequences which buzz, the big Modular which roars and the guitar solos which cry; we are in a universe like nowhere else. Mark Shreeve and Ian Boddy take a malicious pleasure in filling every space of a sound which escapes our attention but which remains stuck in our eardrums. Sounds that we shall rediscover during a next listening and during another one later, testifying of the relevance of Arc to throne at the top of an EM which exploits all details. A place among the biggest names. And when "Arclight" goes in a mood a little bit more relaxed, it's never for a very long time and it's to explode deeply. Like around the 12th minute mark when our ears have difficulty in seizing all this wealth trapped in a structure which reveals its charms minute per minute. This is great Arc! With its sharp tears of synth which float among the lamentations of a melancholic tortured cello, "Filtered Through Haze" is not outdone. The first seconds are charmingly ambient and very rich in contemporary tones. Delicate arpeggios swirl in the heavy and humming breaths of a Modular synth, giving birth to a passive figure of rhythm which undulates in loops into atmospheres to make draw up the hairs of fear. "Into Dust" is more into the genre of Ian Boddy's Electronica patterns. It's a little bit puzzling track, but made if the moods of Arc it has all of its effects. Arpeggios roam on a structure of rhythm in continual gestation where are also dragging some morphic waves and also some scratches of an electronic six-strings. And the rhythm settles delicately between our ears. It's a good and very morphic down-tempo where the ambient melody inhales the secrets of Arc. And like a mocking specter, the melody falls to pieces in order to be evaporated in these atmospheres always near darkness; which is the den of Arc, Redshift, Mark Shreeve and Ian Boddy. Simply majestic, like Umbra!
Sylvain Lupari (July 13th, 2015)
You will find this album on the DiN Bandcamp page here
You will find this album on the DiN Bandcamp page here