ARCANE: 33 1/3 RPM (2005)
“IMHO, it's the best of Arcane because it's more complete and it travels over 2 eras”
1 33 1/3 rpm pt1 20:11
2 33 1/3 rpm pt2 19:27
3 Dr Wutzke's Psychedelic Wonder Machine 6:18
4 Silent Thief on a Desert Train 7:18
5 The Taxidermist 7:26
(CD/DDL 60:42) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, OST, TD-like)
More than 4 years since the underground release of Alterstill, the legend of Arcane releases a new chapter with 33 1/3 RPM. Rumor had it that Max von Richter's band had already recorded a double album called Teach Yourself to Crash Cars around 1973. This project was never heard of again, except that one day a vinyl copy of the part 2 was found in an independent record shop. This created quite a stir in the EM circles at the time! The recording in question was found later in a dark German studio. It was transferred and mixed on CD, hence the cracklings, to which were added 3 bonus tracks. 33 1/3 RPM is in all likelihood from that time when organ, mellotron and supernatural flutes, abstruse choirs and prismatic atmospheres were legion. And if you still doubt it, the album bears the traces of Gather Darkness in its music and its many twists. Enough to make you salivate with impatience...
It's with the crackling of a vinyl sounding like a dying fire that wolves and other nocturnal raptors open the gates of 33 1/3 rpm pt1. Shortly after a violent lick of organ falls on the opening and a delicate flute emerges to measure its air with that of a chthonian choir. Strange howls can still be heard as the music quietly shifts to a delicate bass sequence that beats out a few waddling chords. An old keyboard spreads its wet sound prints while the flute goes for a defensive air. Imprisoned in this taciturn ambience, our senses awaken slightly when the sequencer crumbles a few keys over the trumpet-synth flavors a little before the 8th minute. We are literally in the lair of Tangerine Dream with this nascent rhythm, keyboard riffs and synth with trumpeted wind blasts. The rhythm gets more and more articulate, as the elements of the setting increase their intensity. This is when the percussions come in some 120 seconds later. The texture of 33 1/3 rpm pt1 becomes more electronic with a barely convulsive movement that beats under a good synth solo that can be mistaken for a violin. This slow evolution fails on a first transition phase around the 12th minute. The organ and the beautiful chant of the mellotron lead us into a sordid universe filled by another luciferian choir and streaked by those fine razors that let filter those scarlet screams that gleam in the boundaries of Sauron. These thin wails resist and guide the next phase of 33 1/3 rpm pt1's transition to the sequencer's upbeat that carves out a short phase of sustained rhythm before that first 33 1/3 RPM part sinks back into that gothic TD setting of the Stratosfear years to those of Force Majeure's.
The vinyl is crackling again at the opening of 33 1/3 rpm pt2. Strayed between prismatic waves, a humming sound, like a race car, makes our ears vibrate. There is more than one turn, and my ears begin to get impatient when a wave begins to float with quavering in its air. A seraphic musicality rises from this introduction to weave a subtle ascending melody. It's in the charms of this melody that the sequencer releases a rhythmic phase that remains in the background before this sublime song of the mellotron. The percussions invite after the 6th minute, supporting this melody that has become sequenced. These 3 elements weld together to bring 33 1/3 rpm pt2 to a rhythm as catchy as the new airy melody of the mellotron. And there, it is in a new ambience which flirts with Logos that the title undertakes its other transition. We approach the 12 minutes point when this rhythm evaporates in an atmospheric phase where chthonian choir and mellotron vapors establish a dark atmosphere. The sequencer retraces a rhythm line in a form of 8, not really successful, that the synth launches some airs of Wavelength. And little by little, 33 1/3 rpm pt2 restructures its rhythm to bring us in a final enlightened by the melodious visions of a Tangerine Dream at its best.
Built on driving percussions and a mocking sequenced melody, Dr. Wutzke's Psychedelic Wonder Machine sets the tone for these bonus tracks with a good upbeat rhythm. The sequencer goes in mode of dribbling sequences in an electronic structure that is comparable to TD's Thief soundtrack. This is a superb title built on a creative sequencer with good modifications in its course always supported by its harmonic halo. Less animated and in a darker vibe, Silent Thief on a Desert Train progresses on a line of gloomy hypnotic pulsations. The synth layers inject a scary movie vibe that the percussion tries to draw into a more harmonious electronic rock. The orchestral jerks and the prismatic vocals, not to mention the ambiences, will later influence soundtracks like The Keep or Near Dark. Speaking of influences, isn't it true that The Taxidermist is also ahead of its time for having influenced a track like Charlie the Kid in the movie music of Firestarter. Anyway, it's a very nice downtempo with a divine melodic approach from the spectral tunes of the synth. A little gem signed Arcane.
It's a good thing we finally got this second part of Teach Yourself to Crash Cars! 33 1/3 RPM is a very good cd that must be divided in two stages: the one with more evolving ambiences of the first two tracks and the one with a more contemporary EM of its 3 bonus tracks. If you like the 70's EM style, you will appreciate the atmospheric passages tempered by some very good mellotron. IMHO, it is the best of Arcane because it is more complete, and it travels over 2 eras.
Sylvain Lupari (July 8th, 2006) ****½*
Available at Paul Lawler Bandcamp