Paul Lawler - keyboards, Mellotron.
Arcane hail from Germany, which in 'electronica' terms is the motherland for sequencer-led electronic music. Future Wreck is one of those brooding, almost gothic monster albums that creep up on you over the span of several listens to proclaim its greatness. Arcane date back to the early 70's but this new album by surviving members Gerhard Schreck and Hans-Ulrich Buchloh and an unidentified new member is bang up to date with four lengthy tracks of sequencer riffing and cosmic exploration.|
- Future wreck
- The plastic eaters
- The visible empty man
- Planet of the blind
The title track opens with some gentle choral flute lines that shift after a few minutes into the first sequencer riff which then continually shift and mutate over the next twenty minutes.
The Plastic Eaters starts with pulsating electronic heartbeat underlined by some eary bell sounds, this slowly increases tempo, with new melody lines slowly adding to the mix, until a fast sequencer riff and percussion kick in and take the track into flight. Classic slow burn tactics that work beautifully.
The final tracks, The Visible Empty Man and Planet of the Blind, using a mixture of the previous formulas are equally good.
Future Wreck is Arcane's most accessible album to date and I enjoyed it immensely.
With this 2000 release, Arcane takes a more science-fiction route, producing 62 minutes of galactic drama. Dark futures and twisted states of existence are the key notes here.
The title track launches into a savage timestream of gripping sequencers and twilight zone sonics. Spectral keyboards drift along as the listener is transported to a future world of desperate and dismal nature. Additional keyboard loops crowd their way into the mix, until everything falls into a desert pit of tension atmospherics and cloudlike chords. The music's rhythmic aspects crawl their way from this hellmouth, reemerging with fresh wonders of chromium blades and cosmic armor. These riffs enter into a pact with demonstrative percussion; together, the steel army peaks with shrill effect and energetic tempo.
"The Plastic Eaters" starts in darkness with sinister tones. Those spectral keyboards are back, this time in conjunction with insectoid e-perc. Soon, more involved melodies creep into being, swamping the darkness with their horn-like blare and heroic chords. Building to a crescendo, the riffs fuse into a menacing finale.
"The Visible Empty Man" follows this pattern too. Ethereal intro leading to simmering tension. Once the tension evolves into a nest of loops, the riffs agitate the music with their business. Once they have demonstrated their power and glory, these riffs and compelling rhythms retreat back into the darkness, allowing pensive reflection to command the outro. This authority is challenged at the very end by a sudden reminder of the riffs and their influence.
"Planet of the Blind" is no stranger to this pattern either. The melody gets quite caught up in its epic definition, expressing itself in terms of shiny surfaces and dynamic rhythms.
Throughout this release, Arcane has replaced the macabre with a cosmic sense of wonder. Still tinged with an eeriness, this music is more adventurous and gripping. Now the darkness holds mysterious discoveries, not hungry ghosts.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
2008. Tim Pullen / England
For me, Arcaneís debut album ĎGather Darknessí was striking for the magnificence of the opening track, with infectious melodics and sequencing to match Schmoelling and Franke at their best. If the TD ĎLogosí era was for you, then itís a "must buy" album on the strength of that track alone.
All subsequent tracks on Ď...Darknessí charted an earlier period, the pounding sequences sounding sensational but I craved for more of that magical infectious music. On ĎFuture Wreckí my prayers have been answered, with 3 of the 4 tracks delivering exactly that. Thatís not to play down the opening title track which charts more mid 70ís territory with gripping sequencer runs sandwiching a delicious middle section where mellotron timbres flourish. The second sequence run especially is a corker with drum lines rampant in an orgy of electronic rhythmics, all topped of with searing synth lines from the very top drawer. Yes, it is a sensational opener which would be the high point of most EM albums worth their salt. But, for me, what transcends Arcane to almost unbelievable heights is spelled out in tracks 2, 3 and 4.
To start with ĎThe Plastic Eatersí does not sound overtly different in style to the opener, with brooding mellotron flute over a throbbing, resonating backdrop. Then the main sequence lines start to build and things start to escalate very quickly. Where shall I start? The melody? Itís gripping, sumptuous, scintillating and above all infectious. The sequencing? Itís completely magical. A mixture of low bass lines and high register detail which has me lost for words. Then the drums kick in. Wow! At 6:50 the track soothes its grip and subtly familiar elements infuse through the music.
ĎLivemiles Part 2í (closing section) was always one of my favourite TD pieces, and here the chord progressions and voicings bring the spirit of that piece flooding back. It is, quite simply, sensational. At 10:30 the track resumes itís own magnificent agenda, as an ominous air takes over and the track gradually fades to close.
Track 3 ĎThe Visible Empty Maní opens with eerie tones which bring to mind the opening credits of the original Alien film. The track gradually builds, as stabbing punctuations around the 4 min mark start to set the scene for the glories to come. The mellotron trumpet vox cuts a swathe with a delicious riff, then syncopating sequences have your eyes widening in delight. Can this brilliance continue? At 7:45 the sequencing gets into a groove and the synth riffs really go to work. Itís unbelievable that this isnít Schmoelling, such is the quality, and when the chord changes hit home to inject even more melodicism itís time for me to stop typing and just sit back and listen................ Iím back, and itís still the same track. Iíll just mention the fantastic end section, a melancholic delight to match anything Iíve heard in a long time.
Track 4 ĎPlanet of the Blindí will have sequencer fans jumping for joy. Everything is right, with rattling half note patterns breaking through at the 6:30 mark accompanied by more delicious thematic progressions. Special mention also for the fantastic sleeve design, great fun and very cleverly put together.
You canít sum this album up in a single sentence, read the whole review to get the merest glimpse of how fantastic it is. Iíll simply say that, in my book, EM just doesnít get any better than this. The whole album just left me with a huge smile on my face.