Is the fourth entry by veteran synth-slingers Ian Boddy and Mark Shreeve under the collaborative moniker of Arc. A live one, Arcturus preserves the duo's set from last year's Hampshire Jam festival, the unofficial successor to the defunct UK Electronica. Before revisiting retro-chrono shores as Arc, beginning with Octane and continuing with Radio Sputnik (currently OOP) and Blaze, both Boddy and Shreeve recorded a healthy quantity of more contemporary-sounding volumes in the 1980's, the best examples being Boddy's memorable The Uncertainty Principle and Shreeve's stellar Legion. Boddy continues to record in a variety of styles while Shreeve's decade-old group Redshift evidently enjoys a potent existence. Arc brings yet more analog-styled madness to the table with a marriage of minds and modulars by Moog and Analogue Systems, along with other synths, including two prized relics in the form of the VCS3 and ever-faithful MiniMoog. (Naturally one anticipates a reasonable level of excitement.) Arcturus is also quite melodic and seemingly devoid of dissonance.
The concert is broken into two epics and an encore piece that easily clears fifteen minutes, all indexed but mastered for continuous play (very cool, indeed). Rubycon's 'Tron flute springs back to life in the five minutes of atmospheric iridescence that prefaces the first sequential pulse of "Arcturus – Part 1." Shreeve's & Boddy's ongoing real-time manipulations recall Christoph Franke's glory days: this is at once new music that reinvigorates the genre while enjoying the implements that once made Tangerine Dream a force to be reckoned with. As the music progresses, dynamics are seldom kept to a bare minimum: a tonal potpourri is coaxed by continuously massaging the timbral fluvia — this applies to the sequences, as well. From a distance, all is as one immense, multifaceted undulation versus pockets of less significant ones — powerful swells agitate the sonic blueprint, restorative lulls temper. "Arcturus – Part 2" features another daunting prelude ready to be cued up to Nosferatu. Sounds are distant and murky, or refined to crispness, depending on the impetus that shapes it: several times I assumed the subtlest pristine pitches might have been the distant ringing of my mobile phone. A brief, spectral piano solo is consumed by an immense, quasi-psychedelic avalanche of sound. "Helicon" reprises the formulae without recycling it, with yet more sonic variations stirred in. Arcturus is likely destined for classic status.
1. Arcturus – Part 1 (21:06)
2. Arcturus – Part 2 (24:09)
3. Helicon (15:47)
Total time – 61:07