Friday, 11 August 2017

Album: Arvo Party - Arvo Party

Arvo Party Album

Info: Little is known about electronic act Arvo Party, other than that he is from Belfast, and to be honest, I'm not sure that in the context of appreciating his new self-titled album which was released last month, it really matters. It speaks for itself.

'Pye' drops us off lightly, waiting on an underground platform, alone, for a train that may or may not arrive, twinkling in the darkness of the tunnel are stars, suddenly, something is coming. That would be 'Longitude / Latitude', a stick clicks in tandem with a thick low-humming bass-line and shaker. Now we have movement and are no longer stationary, again the pace is slow, but there's greater intensity building. As the track develops there are multiple streams of sonic beats twirling individually but together, it's like Paul Kalkbrenner, Moby and Eno all stirring together in the same pot, and across 9-plus minutes it never gets tired.

'Zoso' echoes a classic piano recital running out of energy and fading, it's escapist and reservedly humble in terms of the feeling it emits. That sense of calm is quickly replaced in the form of fourth track 'Null Set'. Whirring mechanical effects become dwarfed by a superb disco-funk electronic beat รก la Maceo Plex, this is an 80's synth homage fully comfortable and confident in its own skin, and it's masterful.

By the time you've reached '155bpm', you are full of expectation as to what Arvo Party might put under the hood of such a title. Nothing is given freely however, and the tracks first 60 seconds holds you in suspense, small changes of tempo act as a barrier before it's chaotic and disorientating ending. A small but probably (maybe) unintentional pattern emerges, with 'Z-Reprise' you notice Arvo Party is providing the listener with time to digest on every second track, before firmly entering the driving seat again.

Eighth track 'Grube' draws on house and dub-step influences, with synths warping themselves almost uncomfortably around the beat. Approaching the three-minute mark we have the take off we've had dangled in front of us since the opening track. It's quite a powerful moment on the album with energy fully moving from recording to listener, here Arvo Party becomes a chemist successfully mixing sounds to maximise their potency.

After the uncanny atmosphere of 'Hydraulis Bellow' we have 'Thirty Five', it's like an orchestra of the dead, playing symphonies that the rest of us can't and never will hear, in a deep cavern underneath the underworld, its simplicity is its unfolding beauty. The album closes with 'Wasted Days & Sleepless Nights', equally if not moreso haunting than its predecessor, in its final third it sounds like a bellows, a strange yet calming end to a majestical album. Easily one of this years most creative and best Irish electronic albums.

And c'mere, while I have you there, listen to this;

Arvo Party - Chevy Chase

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