Paul Lawler - keyboards, Mellotron.
- 33 1/3 rpm pt1
- 33 1/3 rpm pt2
- Dr Wutzke's Psychedelic Wonder Machine
- Silent Thief on a Desert Train
- The Taxidermist
Paul Lawler began his musical career as a session brass player working with the 'Halle Orchestra' and 'BBC Radio' amongst many others. After years of composing music in his own time he decided to make the transition into media composition on a full time basis following a series of television commissions for the BBC . Equally adept with both cutting edge technology and classical performers his music has a very unique and contemporary style.
Paul has been in great demand since composing his first television score in 1998 for the BBC series 'Ancient Voices'. Other commissions include the major BBC series 'Apeman-Adventures in Human Evolution' and 'Ancient Apocalypse'.
Paul's music has been used on hundreds of Television shows from around the world including Saturday Night Live, The Montel Williams Show, The Late Late Show in the USA and the major Russian drama productions I and I, plus the recent feature film "Countdown" described by Hollywood moguls as "Russia's First Blockbuster" and "the most ambitious film to come out of Russia".
His first game title is called "Spyro: A Heroes Tail" .
It was long rumored that the seminal 'Teach Yourself To Crash Cars' album was planned as a double. The myth grew when a copy of 'Pt 2' was supposedly spotted in a backstreet record shop in Berlin, next to TD's 'The Keep' LP. It wasn't until Buchloh's studio was being relocated that rumor became reality. In amongst a box of various EM albums was a white label master which simply had written on it 'Arcane 33 1/3 RPM'. It was unmistakably the long lost part 2, and it is a digitally remastered transcription of those sacred grooves which is presented here as the first two tracks.
In keeping with the vinyl origins the packaging is a microcosm of gatefold reminiscence, with the CD itself mimicking its long-play forebears. It is hugely effective, and the moody imagery fits the concept to perfection.
'33 1/3 RPM Side 1' opens with unmistakable Mellotron refrains, mingled with church organ then choir. The anticipation is palpable. A laid back sequence emerges and the most beautiful 'tron flute interplays with the atmospherics. This is as much about space as content, the poignant moments of silence between the sequence lines make the music shine in contrast. The lights have to come down at this point, this music demands full attention. The simplistic sequence fades as more 'tron flutes exult a mesmerizing bridging section. The sequence them re-emerges with a slightly more complex texture. The way the synth lines interplay with the delicate pulsations is genius. The merest smattering of percussion is introduced, the individual elements remain simplistic yet the sum of the parts is mind blowing. A beautiful synth refrain which Schmoelling would be proud of tops out the structure. Mesmeric effects are then joined by Hammond organ and flute/choir to create another extended bridging section. Subliminally the sequences re-awaken and the full collection of elements are then combined to wonderful effect. An amazing opener.
On to '33 1/3 RPM Side 2' which initially presents more atmospheric magnificence. This is a brilliant section, wouldn't be out of place on the into/outro to 'Rubycon'. The track then begins to take true shape, as subtle sequence lines build underpinned by synth themes. It's very much a sibling to 'Side 1' but slightly more fleshed out and up tempo. The rhythmics suddenly consolidate and some totally fantastic flute refrains break through. Suddenly we're in the realms of a chilled out 'Dystopian Fictions' as a Logos style sequence is joined by another Arcane trademark - a totally infectious theme which infuses the mind. Total magnificence. The track then takes a temporary breather then emerges again, this time even more invigorated. The whole album has been building to this moment, Arcane fans will sit back and revel in the infectious glory.
In the days of vinyl, 40 minutes was a healthy offering and I'd have been happy if they'd left it there. But as an added bonus there are three more tracks included here, none of which found their way onto previous albums.
'Dr. Wutzke's Psychedelic Wonder Machine' comes from the 'Thieves' soundtrack, and is in fairly stark contrast to the previous two tracks with up tempo, insistent, sequencing and strident synth themes.
'Silent Thief on a Desert Train' was taken from a rehearsal for the 'Milton Mount' gig and features menacing sequencing which builds gradually to a wonderful cacophony of pulsations, decorated by synth pads of various guises.
Lastly, but by no means leastly, we get 'The Taxidermist' and what a superb track this is! Again an unreleased soundtrack piece, this time from the film 'Ignitor', it is a sumptuously melodic outing with mesmeric sequencing and memorable themes. Wonderfully understated and all the more powerful for it, this track will come as a revelation to those who have cherished the low quality recordings taken from one of the rare broadcasts in the late 70's.
Overall this is an enthralling album. It has a more blissed-out feeling to 'Alterstill' and especially 'Future Wreck', but the key features that make Arcane one of the very top EM bands of the moment can be found in abundance. The remastering has been handled very well, the packaging is great, it really is another outstanding chapter in this band's already illustrious portfolio.
Quite simply a "must buy".
Arcane are one of the many bands on the label that hide behind anonymity and self-imposed mythology to add weight to their appeal. And, to be honest, a little mystery does add to the value of the music. 33-1/3 is supposedly an album in the 'Berlin School' of electronic music, which basically means it is in the style of late-70s/early-80s Tangerine Dream. The title referring, I assume, to the playing speed of vinyl albums from that period.
In practice this means lengthy tracks of classy ambient sequences that occasionally rack up the beats and become substantially meatier. The first two tracks (33-1/3 Side One and Side Two) more than ably live up to this, forty minutes of melodic cosmic dreaming, slow sequences that fade in and out throughout the tracks, ethereal flute sounds, mellotron choirs and that indefinable air of classiness.
And then there is track three: Dr Wutzke's Psychedelic Wonder Machine - a track that increases the beatability quotia markedly. After the genteel cosmic travelling of the previous tracks this is a great pop electro track, a foot tapper of the first order and the best track on what is already growing into an excellent album.
Silent Thief On A Desert Train is next - the beats partially dissolve away to offer more cosmic soundscapes to visit, before morphing into the final track, The Taxidermist, a chill out exit zone that packs its own delayed punch.
This album by Arcane is one of the best I've heard in a long time, its sound is sophisticated and retro, showcasing the future and the past of electronic music in a very mellifluous fashion. Easily one of my albums of the year so far!