ARCANE: Live @ E-day 2017 (2017)
“If you yet don't know the music of Paul Lawler, Arcane : Live @ E-day 2017 seems to me an excellent way to start”
1 Introduction to Opus-1 2:55 2 Philae 8:04 3 Dark Star 1:54 4 Alterstill 6 5:46 5 Cloud Surfer 6:39 6 The Seven Numbers 5:04 7 Lunar 9 5:29 8 Fire Wings 6:29 9 Aphelion 2 5:44 10 The Taxidermist 6:26 11 Post-Apocalyptic Rodeo 5:50 12 (Encore) From Here to Oblivion 6:46
(DDL 67:11) (V.F.) (E-Rock, England and Berlin Schools)
By where to begin if someone wants to discover the universe of Paul Lawler and/or Arcane? The discography of the English musician and synthesist is rather impressive with about twenty albums under the names of Arcane, Max van Richter and Paul Lawler. And I don't count the E.P. scattered here and there since a few years (I counted 7) and soundtracks as well. So, I would say that the best way is with this last album; ARCANE: Live @ E-day 2017. Going back as far as the 3rd album of Arcane, Alterstill released in 2001, this last album that Paul Lawler recorded during his performance at The Enck theater in Eindhoven on last April, makes a too brief glimpse over 18 years of a career which was led under the various artistic banners of the contemporary EM. And here, we are entitled to the strong electronic rock in the colors of Tangerine Dream with structures of rhythm supported by sober and effective electronic percussions, but especially by these movements of sequences unique to the signature of Arcane.
It's with a short extract of Opus, from the album of the same name, loaded of a new emphasis that Introduction to Opus-1 installs well our ears for the 65 minutes which will follow. Tiny sequenced arpeggios gambol naively at the opening of Philae, introducing the evolutionary rhythm which will cross a beautiful fluty chant before rushing towards a good electronic rock. Rather faithful to the version of the E.P. Landers, but with a stronger sound texture, this version of Philae offers a more cheerful melody from a synth which multiplies its harmonious loops in symbiosis with the charge of the rhythm. Each title is linked to together in a soundscape mosaic which is sculpted under the sign of darkness. Under the sign of a music which would fit greatly to an apocalyptic horror movie. This is the way the lively and eager rhythm of Alterstill 6, after the nebulous vibes of Dark Star, is making a beautiful return in the past where Arcane sounded literally like Tangerine Dream, era Franke-Froese and Baumann, but with a more contemporary tone here. I believe that Cloud Surfer is a new track here. The rhythm is jovial and structured on a good meshing of percussions and sequences which sculpt a kind of gendarmerie gallop. The music offers a beautiful orchestral texture with a synth of which the harmonies can be easily whistled on sequences rolling like bingo balls and which become more lively after 3 minutes.
Another title than I didn't find in the catalog of Arcane or Paul Lawler is The Seven Numbers, a track which presents a heavy and jerky beat with a texture closer of TD of the Tyger years. Afterward, Paul Lawler makes parading a series of more contemporary titles like Lunar 9, from Landers, Aphelion 2 from the E.P. of the same name and Fire Wings from the Opus album which is very present here with an interpretation always very rock of Post-Apocalyptic Rodeo without Zlatko Perica's guitar but with good arrangements and a very melodious synth. It sounds very Logos and it's really in the tone of the concert. The Taxidermist brings us in 2004 with the very good 33 1/3 RPM. The structure is slow and hammered by good percussions. The synth and the sequencer make very TD of the Thief and\or Flashpoint years. A very good title from an album which I believe is out of print, but that we can find on Paul Lawler's Bandcamp page. This track is the ideal link towards the delicious Post-Apocalyptic Rodeo. From Here to Oblivion is the Encore of this excellent album in concert from Arcane. Here, as on the 11 other titles of ARCANE: Live @ E-day 2017, everything is played with more strength, with more punch in the rhythmic offensive whereas the melodious approaches remain always weaved in the mysticism with good arrangements and a synth that Paul Lawler harmonizes very well with the vibe that he wants to give to this concert. Fluty and melodious, this synth can also be of ice and of mysteries as here on this very strong interpretation of a title of which the rolls of rattlers stay undeniably the charm of this music bring out of the Revenants album which was released on 2014.
We hear a WoW in the attendance. And I believe that describes very well the effect of surprise and of delight regarding the selection of titles that Paul Lawler carefully enriched in a long mosaic, very dependent on each of the titles, which passes by in a wonderful symbiosis, so much at the level of the rhythms as the harmonies, and which disregards some 15 years which separate them. And at the end, ARCANE: Live @ E-day 2017is a splendid album from a concert which seems to me too short in order to court with accuracy Arcane's vast universe. But it's an excellent way to start!
Sylvain Lupari (August 29th, 2017) ***** SynthSequences.com
Available at Paul Lawler Bandcamp