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Georgopoulos’s projects over the last 15 years remain wonderfully and bafflingly various. His early work as part of the San Francisco duo Tussle could be described as krautrock. With Alps, he made a kind of woozy, pastoral folk music. In his guise as Masks, he has made more dancefloor-friendly electronic disco. His early work as Arp recalled Brian Eno’s ambient albums of the 1980s; albums More (2013) and Pulsars e Quasars (2014) saw him pastiching 70s glam-rock and psychedelia. A 2010 album, Frkwys III, with British composer Anthony Moore (an associate of Pink Floyd and Henry Cow) explored ambient chamber music, while last year’s duet with the Berlin-based Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Fragments of a Season, recalled the jangly minimalism of Vini Reilly’s Durutti Column.
Georgopoulos’s latest album under his nomme de band Arp sees him lurching into even more ambitious territory, moving from bedsit-bound electronica to full band, with nods to Indonesian gamelan, west African drum circles, Japanese gagaku and Californian minimalism.
Tracks such as Nzuku, Ozu or Fiji sound like lightweight instrumental TV themes – oriental-flavoured easy-listening using breathy horns and slow-motion dub rhythms. But the album springs to life when Georgopoulos and his band start to delve into their source material. Opening track Halflight Visions is a heavenly mix of astral jazz synths, John Martyn-style guitar flourishes and hypnotic tuned percussion. Moving Target mixes fiendishly complex Afro-Cuban hand percussion with spacey free-jazz improvisations. Reading a Wave is a dense piece inspired by Alice Coltrane, with saxophonist David Lackner speaking in tongues over glistening piano and fluttering drums.
Most tracks are detailed explorations on a single chord, but Parallelism – the most harmonically complex track here – takes a minimalist marimba pattern, doubles it up with a squelchy, motorik bassline, and overlays it with dreamy synthesiser chords, ending up sounding like Steve Reich jamming with Tangerine Dream. It is truly cosmic music, one that defies categorisation.
|D1||Reading A Wave||8:45|
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