Arp - New Pleasures Music Album Reviews

Arp - New Pleasures Music Album Reviews
On the follow-up to 2018’s warm, naturalistic Zebra, Alexis Georgopoulos veers in the opposite direction, constructing a glassy paradise out of ’80s-inspired drum machines and analog synths.

Many miles separate Eden from utopia. The former sprouts, green and abundant, from untouched soil. Utopias, the work of mere humans, are simulacra of perfection, cast in streamlined shapes and buffed to a blinding gloss. On his 2018 album Zebra, composer Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp, sowed an organic paradise out of lustrous synthesizers and tactile percussion. It felt warm and breezy; even when it was blanketed in electronic tones, you could practically feel the wood grain on the plates of his softly struck marimba. On New Pleasures, Georgopoulos rejects Zebra’s naturalism. Instead, he peers ahead, crafting a sleek, machine-operated sanctuary out of plasticky drum machine patterns and jagged synthetic textures. Mallet instruments and fretless bass infuse the album with mild warmth, but Georgopoulos seems more interested in icy, detached soundscapes. If this is a picture of our silicon future, it’s an often airless one.

New Pleasures is the second installment in Arp’s Zebra trilogy. The first chapter, winding and sun-drenched, felt like gliding along the water, snug in an inflatable raft, through unfamiliar but idyllic terrain. The new record also suggests forward motion, but it more closely resembles speeding through a freshly paved tunnel late at night: smooth, propulsive, and illuminated by a cool fluorescent glow. Georgopoulos returns to his beloved collection of analog synthesizers throughout New Pleasures, coating clacking drum machines with a metallic sheen. His choice of instruments enhances the album’s retrofuturistic ambience, particularly on the title track—a neon-lit, sci-fi joyride that layers spiny bursts from a Prophet 5 and Moog Model D with fretless bass and 808s. His lattice of synths is intricate and dynamic, but it’s Georgopoulos’ drum machines and percussionist Lautaro Burgos that supply the real meat of the track. Padded Linn patterns and delicate marimba ground the muscular, Phil Collins-sized beats that punctuate the song, evoking a high-gloss update of ’80s tech noir.

New Pleasures emphasizes just a few key sounds, like a painting rendered in a minimal color palette. Each detail is carefully arranged, but the ultimate effect can at times be too polished. It’s easy to listen to, yet unlike its predecessor, New Pleasures tends to fade into the background, enticing listeners to space out. Occasionally, a gorgeously mixed drum passage or keening synth penetrates the haze: Opener“The Peripheral” is lifted by chattering mallets and an effect that sounds like seltzer bubbles exploding in Dolby.

Little gems like this reveal themselves in each meticulously recorded track. Georgopoulos designs the closing “Cloud Storage” exclusively from such precise granules. It feels somehow astral and earthly all at once; synths sway like searchlights beaming across the sky as marimba and programmed chirps burble beneath. It’s one of the record’s sparsest pieces, inviting in its spaciousness. “Cloud Storage” is the more intimate companion piece to “The Peripheral”; the conversation between the two cuts suggests a more vulnerable, quietly adventurous album than many of the songs in between.

Some songs are less nuanced: big, primary colored blocks of sound that don’t always encourage further inspection. Take “Traitor (Dub),” with its silly, rubbery synth melody. It’s artificially funky, like an episode of Soul Train broadcast live from Chuck E. Cheese. “Sponge (for Miyake)” is similarly entrenched in ’80s pastiche, its bright, springy keystrokes evoking a low-stakes chase scene. Though both songs disrupt the album’s placid surface, they jut out at odd angles, inviting a head scratch rather than a closer look. Georgopoulos is superb with minutiae—brief washes of static, a curiously undulating synth line—but the overall arc of the record feels flat. He is fully equipped to construct bold new sonic edifices, but on New Pleasures, Georgopoulos too often settles for the skyscrapers we already know; shiny, but ordinary.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Arp - New Pleasures Music Album Reviews Arp - New Pleasures Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 Rating: 5

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