Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Arabie '79 - Arabie '79 (Booma Collective)

'When I first began this project twenty eight months ago, I had no idea the end result would look the way it does today. I had obviously a goal in mind, goal which, I am proud to say, I have completely forgotten as the enterprise gained in importance...Most of the time, I didn't even know what was going on.' - Arabie '79

To not know what's going on or where your creative journey will take you is a noble condition. It allows for anything to happen. Most artists don't know where they're going when they start, I suppose, unless they've studiously mapped out a project or they're painting an object/subject. 

Much is made of the potential for improvisation, although the very nature of electronic music seems to suggest planning of some kind (which button to push?). I don't know, I've never tried but, like you, I've heard too many tracks that sound as if they've been pre-programmed to eradicate any signs of imaginative human input. Genre clich├ęs, in other words. There's something to be said for mechanised repetition, of course, if the point is to make purely mechanical, minimalist sound. I don't know what the point is, but if the creator can justifiably be called an 'artist' and has read a few clever books it will be a conceptual statement rather than the latest EDM smash hit. I reckon.

I didn't know where I was going with this except to say I knew I would, at some point, praise it to the hilt. But I'm not doing that just yet. Right now I'm listening again to Side 2. I've listened to it all several times and each hearing reveals something new. You sense the 'journey' aspect, get carried along and experience a warping of time and space. Yes, many electronic music artists might claim/wish to have the same effect, but Arabie '79 really does.

I'm not one for long tracks usually, unless, like these, they evolve, mutate, mix tones and textures etc. Most become a bore. Most end long after they should have done. I guess that's the temptation with so much choice at your fingertips...to go on and on through a potentially endless sonic territory. Unlike trad musicians, the electronic artist is limited by her imagination. From even the most basic kit a million mutations are possible. But it's the shaping, editing, defining and restricting of that territory that makes a piece special, or not.

Rewind: crackle...sustained repetition of a phrase that shifts...fades, sounds panning from speaker to speaker...a beat, bass line...the feeling of early ambient-dub-techno, perhaps...are those crashing waves? Wind effect...it takes a darker turn, reminiscent of Horror sound effects records, just as it began...rewind to Side 1...sounds like the Master Musicians of Jajouka lost in space...midway a break comes in that reminds me of Lemon D in a Jazzy mode...towards the end, Fender-like keyboards...going Lonnie Liston Smith meets Miles Davis in an electronic interference way...applause at the end...rightly so. 

Did I forget to praise it? This is a great piece of work...a trip that's worth your time. Top marks to Booma Collective and Arabie '79.

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