The Soft Wave by Arp on Apple Music

9 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

If you’ve ever taken a nap on a bed of analog synths before (see such Krautrock cadets as Klaus Schulze and Cluster), then you know what to expect from Alexis Georgopoulos’ latest Arp outing. At least at first, as “Pastoral Symphony” sets the mood with two sun-stroked movements of microwaved melodies and carefully plotted chords. The Soft Wave’s idyllic setting doesn’t last long, however. Before you get a chance to process all that ambiance, the mesmerizing minimalism of a song like “Catch Wave” is countered by dollops of distortion (“White Light,” “Summer Girl”) and a severe thunderstorm climax (“Silver Clouds”) that threatens to consume us all. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

If you’ve ever taken a nap on a bed of analog synths before (see such Krautrock cadets as Klaus Schulze and Cluster), then you know what to expect from Alexis Georgopoulos’ latest Arp outing. At least at first, as “Pastoral Symphony” sets the mood with two sun-stroked movements of microwaved melodies and carefully plotted chords. The Soft Wave’s idyllic setting doesn’t last long, however. Before you get a chance to process all that ambiance, the mesmerizing minimalism of a song like “Catch Wave” is countered by dollops of distortion (“White Light,” “Summer Girl”) and a severe thunderstorm climax (“Silver Clouds”) that threatens to consume us all. 

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About Arp

Arp is the work of New York City-based artist and composer Alex Georgopolous. The first-generation American child of French and Greek parents who was brought up in all three countries, Georgopolous started out in San Francisco, where he co-founded the instrumental dance-rock quartet Tussle in the early 2000s, primarily as a bassist, drummer, and percussionist. After the recording of their second album, Telescope Mind, Georgopolous departed the group to focus on a new project based on his exploration of synthesized electronic textures. The project named Arp was inspired by several different points of reference: Halton C. Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, the artists Sophie-Tauber Arp and Jean Arp, the defunct synth company, and the word's closeness in sound to "harp."

His first endeavor under the moniker was a gallery installation piece in 2006, created in collaboration with an architect, and consisting of an enclosed modular space with a feather bed just large enough for two people to lie down and listen to his minimalist synthesizer compositions on endless repeat. Several of these pieces were later included on In Light, his 2007 debut album for Smalltown Supersound, which was recorded almost completely live using an array of analog synths, with occasional touches of flute and piano, and overtly influenced by the early-'70s work of Cluster and Kraftwerk. The year 2010 saw the release of Arp album The Soft Wave, a collaborative release with British composer Anthony Moore, and an installment of the Frkwys series with the like-minded Moore. Arp's music took a turn away from the minimal in 2013 with the still experimental but more traditional mutant pop sounds of More. Two other albums were slated for a 2013 release, both documents of art installations. Music from Arp also found itself featured prominently in soundtracks to runway shows, films, modern dance performances, and many other unlikely avenues.

Georgopolous also spent lots of time in collaboration with visual artists like Doug Aitken, Matt Connors, and Chris Johansen, as well as making music as a member of exploratory instrumental psych-folk trio the Alps, short-lived DFA act Q&A, and recording group Masks. Apart from his myriad musical projects, Georgopolous has also stayed active as a writer on art, music, and design as well as curating SOUND+VISION: A NIGHT OF FILM, VIDEO + MUSIC, an event at N.Y.C. art gallery The Kitchen, which included contributions from filmmakers Matt Wolf, Olivia Wyatt, and Sam Fleischner, artists Tony Martin and Nick Relph, the writer Jon Savage, and musicians Bradford Cox (Deerhunter, Atlas Sound), Harald Grosskopf, Sun Araw, and the Congos. In late 2014, an EP entitled Pulsars e Quasars surfaced, meshing the Eno-isms of More with decidedly more experimental tracks. ~ K. Ross Hoffman

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