Restless instincts and inspired collaborations give Arp’s Pulsars e Quasars EP bright vitality.
There is no obvious narrative arc to trace along the path of Alexis Georgopoulos’s creative output, from his role as a founding member of the San Francisco art-groove ensemble Tussle, to the different shapes that his Arp project has now taken. After establishing an exploratory synth-driven sound with the first Arp releases and then making a melodic about-face with the more direct pop-tones of last year’s MORE, the new Pulsars e Quasars EP neither ditches the new direction nor stays tied to it. Driven as equally by abstraction as by hooks, Pulsars e Quasars does not bury pop underneath noise, it marries the two loosely, and the record holds together well because of that looseness.
The steady thump and spoke-sung paisley positivity of the title track eases off the barrage of throat-clearing feedback that “Suns” offers to begin the EP. Swept by its own rumbling undercurrent, the hypnotic procession then swells into “Chromatiques II (Extended Mix)”, a six-minute bath in static euphoria. The results are a Side A that sounds like something Christian Fennesz and Kevin Shields would do after getting together to make the soundtrack for a Lost in Translation sequel. The snowballing “UHF1” opens Side B with a restless build-up from an initial ease, with escapist lyrics about setting fire to your dreams and bleaching the night: “Leave them behind you now/Look what we found.” Given the noted sonic kinship that some of Georgopoulos’s output has had with the work of Brian Eno, it is easy to hear the parallels between “On Returning” and Eno’s “Here Come the Warm Jets”, with their soaring contrails of fuzz and chorused vocals. The comedown, “The Violet Hour (Film Dub)”, is an even hazier take on the already hazy melody of “Pulsars e Quasars”.
The repurposing continues with the finale, “New Persuasion (Version by Le Révélateur)”, a take on MORE’s own last track by the former Godspeed You! Black Emperor member Roger Tellier-Craig (who currently makes music as Le Révélateur). Help was also had on “Chromatiques II (Extended Mix)”, which was mixed with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, co-founder of both the Root Strata label and the experimental band Tarentel, whose music (as well as that of recent Tarentel offshoot Maholy-Nagy) is also well worth investing in. Both side-closers prove that collaboration provides Pulsars e Quasars with a good measure of its vitality.