With third album More, Arp brainchild Alexis Georgopoulos took an unexpected turn from the more experimental neo-Krautrock and avant-garde leanings of his first two albums, opting instead for more traditional pop structures and careful tributes to some of music's most visionary thinkers. The first striking thing about this set of songs is how organic all of the instruments sound, with Georgopoulos dropping much of the synth sounds of previous albums for acoustic pianos, chiming guitars, and church organs, complete with their whispery built-in drum machines. Tracks like the softly orchestral "A Tiger in the Hall at Versailles" and "High-Heeled Clouds" owe much to the influence of the more chamber pop phases of Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and even the harpsichord-driven sad-hearted songs of the Left Banke.
In many ways Alexis Georgopoulos is representative of the alternative modern musician – quietly prolific, working across multiple forms and consummately engaged in his art but positioned firmly below most musical radars. He’s put his name to a range of releases over the last decade, partially under his Arp guise as well as his involvement in bands such as The Alps and Tussle. On top of these he’s also carved out a presence in the underground New York arts scene, delivering soundtracks to modern dance performances and foraying into realm of sound art.
It's been a while since Alexis Georgopoulos worked under his Arp moniker, leaving three years trailing in the wake of his last full-length album, The Soft Wave. He's worked in art and modern dance in the interim, but Georgopoulos has clearly spent some time thinking about how to retool this project as well. The Soft Wave was all balmy synth textures and endlessly repeating figures, sometimes lightly prickled by waves of bass and distorted guitar.
There’s a beautiful woman walking up 5th Avenue, cutting a “delicate line” through the crowd and accompanied by pretty staccato piano chords and a prominent bass line. Like attractive women in every urban setting, she gives off the impression she’s walking in “high-heeled clouds,” an effect heightened by the organ swirls and ringing guitar lines that now chaperon her in the song of the same title. “You’re a fool without a clue,” sings Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp, in a futile address to any man smitten by such wonders, “and the things, the things for her that you would do/you give it all, you’d take the fall, you’ve nothing better to do.
A quick burst of synth. Delicately twittering birds. Celestial, gargled feedback. A splash of static. Birds flying, wind moving. This is the progression of E2 Octopus, a 44-second interlude in a 54-minute album that sustains itself in lengthy, meandering tones. It’s a breathless, almost ….
Mixing angular post-punk guitars with '80s-inspired funk grooves, the Dismemberment Plan saw where indie rock was headed before most of its peers. So you'd expect that the Washington, D.C., band's first album in 12 years would feel like a victory lap, with a current of told-you-so electricity. As it turns out, the record lacks that energy — along with any other kind.