Arc Lab: The Goodbye Radio

Evocative symphonies meet stationary ambience on The Goodbye Radio.

Arc Lab

The Goodbye Radio

Label: n5md
US Release Date: 2008-04-22
UK Release Date: 2008-05-05

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.


From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Forty years after its initial release, one of the defining albums of US punk rock finally gets the legacy treatment it deserves.

If you ever want to start a fistfight in a group of rock history know-it-alls, just pop this little question: "Was it the US or the UK who created punk rock?" Within five minutes, I guarantee there'll be chairs flying and dozens of bloodstained Guided By Voices T-shirts. One thing they'll all agree on is who gave punk rock its look. That person, ladies, and gentlemen is Richard Hell.

Keep reading... Show less

Tokyo Nights shines a light on the roots of vaporwave with a neon-lit collection of peak '80s dance music.

If Tokyo Nights sounds like a cheesy name for an album, it's only fitting. A collection of Japanese city pop from the daring vintage record collectors over at Cultures of Soul, this is an album coated in Pepto-Bismol pink, the peak of saccharine '80s dance music, a whole world of garish neon from which there is no respite.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.