Intended as the second part of a planned trilogy, Arp releases his latest long-player, New Pleasures. Where its predecessor, 2018`s ZEBRA – described at the time by the label, Mexican Summer, as “post-everything” – was a very “organic” mix of kosmische electronics and ECM / BYG-Actuel – esque transcendental jazz, this fresh offering is all together more angular. The accompanying press one-sheet citing a cinematic move from the pastoral to a shiny Sci-Fi / industrial landscape.
Musically this is marked by the use of a frankly staggering array of vintage analogue gear, in particular a bank of coveted classic drum machines. Linn LM-1, Sequential Circuits Drumtraks, Oberheim DMX, Vermona DRM-1, Roland TR-707s, 808s, and 909s, all engaged in a wiggling, wriggling, abstract dance. Evident in a tumbling timpani that recalls the `80s electro-pop of YMO, Sakamoto, David Sylvian and Japan. Crashing, colliding, collaged beats, seemingly built from samples, blinded by Thomas Dolby and Art Of Noise`s sonic science.
Eniko, for example, couples cool kankyo ongaku chimes to percussive popping and locking – like a disco mirror-balled take on Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence – and features Phil Collins / In The Air Tonight rolls and fills. In contrast, i: /o, floats somewhere down some crazy river, a bionic bayou of free fretless bass and microtone detail – like Asa Tone covering Malcolm McLaren`s Obatala.
Shorts of ambient sound design, intro, outro, and segue throughout the set, creating moments of Zen garden calm. Mediative minutes of machined marimbas, kalimbas, synthetic squiggles – freshwater flows of fluttering frequencies and delayed hand-drums. The album appears to be all about movement, and the standouts are perhaps those tracks that shake some significant leg. Traitor (Dub) is a sorta robotic rumba, crackling with congas, and cracking castanet-like echoes, while android hand-claps add extra drive to Le Palace – a piece of plugged-in Synclavier funk – named in tribute to the famous Parisian nightclub – and rivalling the Future Shock fusion of Herbie Hancock and Wally Badarou.
Arp`s New Pleasures is out today, care of Mexican Summer.