ARCANE: Alpha (2020)
“A very nice EP with no weak points but with a lot of movie themes reminiscences of TD's movie music in the 80's”
1 Alpha-1 5:52
2 Alpha-2 5:52
3 Alpha-3 7:04
4 Alpha-4 5:34
(DDL 24:24) (V.F.)
(Movie music of the 80's)
I love Paul Lawler! His daring and his different musical orientations leave us on the alert and ALPHA is no exception. This 25-minute E.P. offers 4 versions of the same structure seen from different angles, each of them having 2 to 4 evolutionary phases. The result is a superb music, very harmonious, from films of the 80's which is boosted by various nods to the music of Tangerine Dream where the scents emerge from as far as Flashpoint in a cinematographic universe inspired by the music of Franke, Froese & Schmoelling. An excellent E.P. by the way!
A melodious flute line invades our ears. Its austere processional movement is connected to clicks that belong to a snoring bass line. That's the signal that these cybernetic percussions were waiting for to erect a horizontal wall where hundred of lost steps are running across all directions. Always this melodious flute line which takes off in order to jump over a first rhythmic step when Alpha-1 takes the guides of an up-tempo flirting with dance music which is tied up with orchestrations in Disco mode of the 90's. Good solos are floating over some harmonious loops which are rolling in the background's atmospheres of the title turn out to be the next episode of Alpha-1. Six-string acoustic riffs inject a new richness to this environment, pushing the 3rd episode towards an electronic rock a bit Disco. Lots of movement for so little time! It's the privilege of this last Arcane's EP which unveils here hyper-melodious electronic music, in the field of cinematographic music of the 80's, and which makes its nods to the music of Tangerine Dream, more precisely the Johannes Schmoelling period.
In a sweet little intro where two chords go up and down in different romantic visions, including violin layers and keyboard riffs à la The Keep, Alpha-2 unlocks another multi-stage structure. Here, the sequencer leaves its organic imprints while inserting a laconic key, creating a seductive universe where Paul plays basketball with the rhythmic keys from the sequencers. The effect lulls between Hyperborea and Poland in a title which will end up flying off towards a good electronic rock, well served by these sober percussions that Arcane injects into his music since its very beginning, and this famous movement of dribbling sequences. Alpha-3 is built on the same principle of 3 rhythmic mutations in a cross between Near Dark and Wavelength to end up in an E-Rock with an orchestral vision of the 80's synth-pop. Alpha-4 structures a sequencing pattern with a lively line which zigzags in a slalom where the poles have been brought together to make the finest loops. It's the most intense track of ALPHA with Simple Minds' drumming patterns. The synth leaves its harmonic imprint, like in every section of this EP which once again shows all the skill of composer, designer and arranger that is Paul Lawler in an EP that any fan of TD's movie music should have.
And if you like it when Arcane goes into the ambiences and harmonic spheres of the Dream, I would be remiss if you gave up not to mention a single that friend Paul offers for free on his Bandcamp; Origin. A nice big 11 minutes of an EM more explored than here and that would go fabulously in The Keep 😊
Sylvain Lupari (August 31st, 2020) ****½*
Available at Paul Lawler Music Bandcamp