Arandel is seemingly influenced by ambient landmarks for Solarispellis, referencing the sustained master-works of Brian Eno and the recent futurist 3D decay of Oneohtrix Point Never, making electronic pieces that feel fragmented and sabotaged and yet quite whole. Arandel continues to traverse sounds that feel distant and yet interconnected, deciding upon techno in the midsts of an IDM wonderland.
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- Solarispellis by Arandel
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 21 January 2015
From the InFine label comes forth a record that spans almost the complete breadth of electronic music. What an outlandish statement, eh? But it’s close to the mark - French producer Arandel melds elements from near-cheesy synth washes that you’d find in a scifi epic to abstract sound collage and even chiptune.
Oddly enough, the tracklist is nonlinear. After the opener, you are pulled on a fragmented journey through sections 7, 11, 9, 10, 13, 12, 10.3, and 8 as if there’s some kind of Da Vinci code hidden within Solarispellis. This bloke is undoubtedly reaching for some deep 2001 space vibes, with harmonies in ‘Section 9’ that I’ve definitely heard some space game soundtracks before, rising to a glistening synth climax like moonbeams on shuttles, presumably. The second two tracks cover 2 distant bases. ‘Section 7’ features some Vangelis synth underneath an ambient techno groove, not unlike a stomping interpretation of The Advisory Circle’s From Out Here. The 8-bit krautrock of ‘Section 11’ builds to some cheery broken beat techno that you’d want to whack on while playing some Mario or Sonic for sure.
The press release bills Oneohtrix Point Never as a reference point, but only in that they both recontextualise forgotten styles. There’s a hint of the fragmentedness Lopatin excels at on ‘Section 13’, but the looping, phasing synth lies closer to Terry Riley or an electronic Steve Reich. More slow ambient techno beats leading to dubby influence the second half of side B, culminating in an over-the-top grandiose finale statement. Not that it’s a real finale, this review has been of the wrong order anyway. Maybe someone else can review it in the ‘proper’ numerically correct order, there’s a fun challenge for a rainy/snowy day!!!!!!
There’s a sense that the current 70s synth revival is getting slightly laboured at this point, especially if you condense so much of it into a modern album. But Arandel is a skilled condenser, ensuring that pace and style are varied throughout so that it doesn’t get to the point where you want to destroy things.
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