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Arc Lab

The Goodbye Radio

(n5md; US: 22 Apr 2008; UK: 5 May 2008)

Evocative symphonies meet stationary ambience on The Goodbye Radio, with Medard “Arc Lab” Fisher’s interest in classical music outweighing his affinity for miniature, Morr Music-styled electronic pop. The most engaging track on this, Arc Lab’s third album, is a slowly churning beauty called “The Secret Lives of A.C. Wuornos”. Its static-loaded percussion punches in and out like Morse code, and a female vocalist named Svitlana helps steer “The Secret Lives…” along its verse-chorus-verse route, rather than on the experimental road taken for most of Goodbye. The lyrics, already coded in metaphor (“I am a movie with no sound / I am the girl you dream about / I am the feathers of a bird”), lap against lush electric piano tones and are rubbery and fluid, suggesting they’ve been overprocessed with the ever-popular Auto-Tune software.


The same effect lent a chilly air to Nanko’s “Lucky You” from 2006’s Serious Times compilation. While “Lucky You’s” protagonist grappled with his jealousy of nearby lovers, Svitlana’s cloaked contributions to “The Secret Lives…” blanket further the mystery at hand when she reveals that the limited impression we have of her—in this case, she’s the convicted serial killer/prostitute Aileen Wuornos—isn’t remotely accurate.


“Small Numbers” partners Svitlana’s un-touched vocal with beatless charm for another Goodbye collaboration. Arc Lab’s shared compositions yield the most pleasant moments here, but a couple of Goodbye‘s instrumentals, are spellbinding in their digitally rendered wonder. The more straightforward, classically-launched efforts are pretty dry alongside the title track’s warm allotment of field noises and the fuzzy backdrop of “Transients”—Arc Lab would do well to expand on impulses like these or, at the very least, book more studio time with Svitlana.

Rating:

Dominic Umile is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. His work has recently appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Chicago Reader, The Comics Journal, and more. Follow: @dominicumile | Email: dominic.umile@gmail.com | about.me/dominicumile


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