Arcanum - Das Labyrinth
Album................: Das Labyrinth
Style..................: Berlin School
Total Time..........: 71.14 mins
Bright tinkling synth pads create vivid picture music throughout the first track 'Labyrinth- The Beginning' . At the four minute mark rasping effects break the tranquillity and soon after a sequence comes in. It is robust in the sound chosen but also has a delicate melodic quality which acts in juxtaposition to the rasping noise. Guitar chords enter near the end and begin to alter the images created by the mind's eye. The feeling now is of restrained power. 'Metamorphosis' commences with a collage of disparate sounds, some clanging others soaring. Deep dark pulsations build and a melodic racing sequence joins in. A sort of brooding excitement is created which is heightened by perfectly chosen effects. This is my favourite piece of Arcanum music I have heard so far. Its as if a force field is holding back some great power which could be unleashed at any moment. It is a fantastic composition, every element of it seeming so right as if they were meant to be together and to these ears its impossible to think how it could be improved on in any way. The feeling of power continues to grow as the track progresses.
After ten minutes the feeling that the power could be malevolent changes to a more optimistic stance as a flute melody is added. 'New Psychadelic' begins with the sound of deep breathing as if someone is underwater using an aqualung. Guitar and synth textures then combine to create a dark soundscape which now the mind has been primed to think in that direction conjures up images of strange things found in the depths of the ocean. The guitar then emerges in its own right with gentle formless licks just adding to the atmosphere and preparing us for the sequence which emerges just before the seven minute mark. A slow rhythm falls into step with the sequence. The guitar gentle floats along providing a little detail here and a little detail there but just forming a part of the whole rather than blasting over the top, at times sounding a little like Manuel Gottsching. At the eighteen minute mark a rhythm is added and by now the guitar is becoming a little more dominant providing the main lead line. It works for me but if you really don't like electric guitar with synth music it will probably be a bit intrusive for you by now. For the last five minutes the guitar disappears completely and the sequence and rhythm get into an infectious groove. 'Labyrinth- The End' starts with a nice bright pulsating loop around which thick soft pads swell. Soon a piano melody strikes up. This is very laid back relaxing stuff beautifully done. At around the six minute mark the electric guitar can be heard faintly but powerfully in the background adding a little bite. By half way an acoustic guitar melody replaces the piano one and we peacefully drift on. The acoustic guitar dies away and it is replaced by more sequences and a fairly heavy electric guitar line shattering the tranquillity and providing a really blistering finish. (DL)