“That's probably the best album in 2019 that we have here”
1 Beneath the Planet of the Arps 24:25
2 Escape from Planet of the Arps 5:29
3 Conquest of the Planet of the Arps 15:33
4 Battle for the Planet of the Arps 15:25
(CD/DDL 60:53) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School, Ambient EDM)
Composed around 2010, PLANET OF THE ARPS was an ambient track of about sixty minutes. Unconvinced of the result, Remy asked Spyra to rework this first sketch. Availability problems on the part of both artists put the project on ice. Invited to perform at the Zeiss Planetarium in Bochum, Germany, in 2012, Remy decided to interpret PLANET OF THE ARPS in its integrity. Two years later, he organized the event Chill at the Castle and invited Spyra to present his album Staub. The timing was perfect, the two musicians interpreted a small part of 20 minutes with the presence of Roksana Vikaluk on vocals. And after all these years, the Dutch synthesist-musician goes to work and did a remixed of the live events with the original 60 minutes' frame at the beginning of this year. The result is found in the 61 minutes of the album. And note for note, tone for tone and ambiances for moods! Even Klaus Schulze doesn't do it anymore! If you didn't know it yet, Remy is the only successor of Klaus Schulze, especially for his period 85-95. And after some colossal works, most of which deserve a perfect score, the musician from Ijmuiden (Netherlands) balances his concretization with this superb PLANET OF THE ARPS. And here I see you smile... Planet of the Arps = Planet of the Apes. But it's more than just a correlation with the saga of Pierre Boule. Arps for the astronomer Halton Arp and his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies which counted nearly 350 galaxies at the turn of the 70's. And Arps also for Alan R. Pearlman and his legendary ARP synthesizers. You see where Remy is going! And if I told you that we probably have here the best possible album of 2019! Intriguing is not it? Come and have a listen with me...
A layer of organ opens the moods of PLANET OF THE ARPS. At the end of its impulse, another layer immediately sticks, leaving no crumb of sound to the emptiness. These successive impulses forge a sound cloth that increases its velocity, more in the intensity level than the rhythmic one. The mood elements that adorn the introduction of Beneath Planet of the Arps still release these essences of insomniac on the verge of paranoia. Synth layers and electronic effects get graft to this slow procession whose vocal effects are neither more nor less comrades of schizophrenia. Quietly, Beneath the Planet of the Arps advances towards the summit of its 24 minutes. The march is laborious with a musical envelope which is constantly impregnated of new essences. No sequences or percussion! Only the impulses of the organ layers create a latent rhythmic appearance which, minute after minute, shows more vigor. The gradation of the intensity is less dominant in some places, but we feel that it will unlock. The core is too explosive, and we only are at the13 minutes' spot. Rattles and vocal effects come to haunt these atmospheres, constantly enlarging the musical core whose boiling point calls for the explosion. But still by infiltrating the seconds with a new threshold of intensity, Remy and his acolytes propose an ambient movement of an astonishing efficiency carefully simmering the next elements of intensity to be added. These atmospheres reach a critical threshold with dialogue effects between synths and the arrival of percussions and percussive effects. The 21st minute rings the call for a good big Groove under the stars. The rhythm is fusional with its percussions with elastic tones around a lascivious dance approach and the unique incantations of Roksana that plunge us into a psybient tribal. The tone and intensity come down a notch with the opening of Escape from Planet of the Arps. The moment is thus ideal to water the ambiences of very good synth solos on this title which will attach the slow rhythm of Beneath the Planet of the Arps to the monstrous Funk & EDM of Conquest of the Planet of the Arps.
A small parenthesis is appropriate here. Remy points out that PLANET OF THE ARPS is not a solo album, but rather a collaborative project that should be in line with Namlook and Schulze's Dark Side of the Moog. And here I see more a correlation to do with the musical evolution of this first opus of Remy, Spyra and Roksanna than the series of 5 films inspired by Pierre Boulle's novel. Conquest of the Planet of the Arps is a good title where the elements of the Netherlands School, Remy's ambiences of nights of insomnia and the EDM of Spyra converge in a great track that comes out of its shell of moods with a very hop'n'go beat. The drums resonate like electric wood and sparkle like amplified typist strikes. Strata of violin goes into staccato while the decor, I even hear voices and dialogues, remains incredibly rich and always leaves no crumb of sounds to nothingness. I would compare this work to the splendid DSOTM 9. A pure jewel! And it continues with the more Berlin School approach of Battle for the Planet of the Arps. Roksanna's voice dominates its introduction. Drums and bass pulsations support the main frame of a rhythm still lively but looking for a way out, while the sequences flutter with curves in their upward rotations. This rhythmic explosion that flirts with the 25 minutes finds its appeasement in the morphic layers that end a great album without flaws. How can it be otherwise with so much talent and two of the best synth-musicians that we constantly compare to Klaus Schulze? A must and possibly the best opus of 2019!
Sylvain Lupari (June 21st, 2019) *****
Available at Remy's Bandcamp