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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ARC: Blaze (2003)

Updated: May 27, 2021

“This is heavy and loud and hits you like a sequenced train running wild”

1 Blaze 5:00

2 Corrosion 9:26

3 Trial in Scarlet 5:15

4 Klangwand 10:14

5 Silent White Light 4:38

6 Sparked 5:39

7 Mother 5:06

8 Pulse Train 8:52

(CD/DDL 54:21) (V.F.)

(England School)

BLAZE is the third opus of Arc, a duo formed of two leaders of the English electronic scene who love the world of heavy sequencers and Big Moog synths. The result of their musical concertation gives an electronic music which is actually very loud. A heavy and lively music that vibrates in ambiances gassed of mists and of chthonian chants with a heavy sequencer and electronic percussions that push the England School genre to its last corners.

All this begins with timid electric piano notes that float with tenderness before the title-track explodes for an unbridled rhythm. An electronic rock'n'roll with the theme of a spy movie, like James Bond, which is structured on the amazing drums of Carl Brooker, an invited guess, whose technic is very valuable in titles like here, and on Klangwand, Sparked and Pulse Train. Moog's layers give these Mark Shreeve and Redshift moods to these electronic rock structures galvanized by an agile sequencer with nervous crisscrossings. The title-track opens an album where Arc gives a heavy product with rocks which alternate with a some mephistophelic moods phenomena which are ideal for horror movies. I think among other things of the heavy and magnetizing Trial In Scarlet, a title with intriguing vaporous waves which jumps at times with knocks as much obscure as the dense layers of mellotron floating in a paranoid atmosphere. There is a beast in this room and in our room that comes out through the speakers. Mother is a bit like that, but with a bigger caricature in its approach. Corrosion follows with its staggering walk which is well surrounded by a treasure of imagination at the level of percussive effects. Not really rhythmic, nor too ambient, the music is at the image of the color and the effects of corrosion with a procession which explodes in places from with an electric piano from Ian Boddy in order to allay its momentary torments. There are synth lines that float with a Robert Fripp guitar scent. Say it's a title that requires some listening, but already the roar of the sequencer is an element that facilitates domestication.

Metallic shimmer and layers of mist rippling over a twilight already very dark, Klangwand arises with a good breakthrough of the sequencer which hatches in tiny-tiny bits its keys soaked in metal. The synth pads are like veils of ghosts leaking while being chased by this fluid and agile sequencer, as well as these percussions and the many effects of percussions which run while following these floating layers. Layers with perfumes of Luciferian orchestra and flirting with the borders of a Tangerine Dream from the Stratosfear and the Phaedra years, but much darker. It's a good title with a sustained rhythm which is linked to a nervous sequencer and a synth with a symphonic breath which twist its movement into a skillful solo with dark atmospheres. Klangwand flies and runs on ingenious metal percussion effects as well as layers of an enveloping Mellotron. Ian Boddy's keyboard and the ingenuity of the sequencer combined with the effects of the modular Moog are the sources of a rich sound which will remain the main trademarks of Arc, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy and Redshift universes. And all this drowned in a psychedelic broth gives a very particular dimension to the music of these musical entities that will give us hours of auditory pleasure for many years to come. Less corrosive than Blaze, Steam has a slow and hypnotic rhythm, like a slow dance for zombies. The sequencer remains nervous and the keyboard chords agonize in hazy breaths. Spectral, the synths ululate over metallic pulsations and some good heavy Mellotron veils that can be easily compared to the Redshift universe. Pulse Train is closing this third album of Arc with a titanic heaviness. Following the dark tonal veils of an ethereal synth, the rhythm comes alive on keyboards with rock organ flavors and percussions well in the tone. A heavy track that moves well, in the same vein of Steam but with more bite that demonstrates the ability of Shreeve and Boddy to cope with several styles, making the charm and depth of this BLAZE; of pure England School dark and heavy with emotions running at the edge of skin.

Sylvain Lupari (August 28th, 2007) *****

Available at DiN Music

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