Release Date: Sep 23, 2014
Record label: Mexican Summer
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Experimental Rock
There is no obvious narrative arc to trace along the path of Alexis Georgopoulos’s creative output, from his role as a founding member of the San Francisco art-groove ensemble Tussle, to the different shapes that his Arp project has now taken. After establishing an exploratory synth-driven sound with the first Arp releases and then making a melodic about-face with the more direct pop-tones of last year’s MORE, the new Pulsars e Quasars EP neither ditches the new direction nor stays tied to it. Driven as equally by abstraction as by hooks, Pulsars e Quasars does not bury pop underneath noise, it marries the two loosely, and the record holds together well because of that looseness.
With the brilliant 2013 album More, Alexis Georgopoulos aka Arp switched gears from his more avant-garde early work to a decidedly more traditional sound, channeling the mutant pop wonderment of freaked-out visionaries like Brian Eno and Kevin Ayers. Surfacing just a year later, EP release Pulsars e Quasars offers something of an introductory grab bag of the various styles that Arp is capable of. The short opening instrumental "Suns" is a noisy improvisational bluster of modular synth and live instruments, but soon melts into the title track, a subdued, pastel-colored slow-burning pop tune that sounds like Eno singing over a lost jam from an early Beach Boys recording session.
Tussle's music frequently resembled electro-funk-as-astronaut ice cream: dehydrated, alkaline, functional but in an abstemious way. As Arp, ex-member Alexis Georgopoulos has retained his old group's basis in krautrock and modular synthesis but has taken it in freer directions, relaxing out of Tussle's parched technicality across a string of increasingly warm, woolly and hard to categorize records. As Arp's first two efforts form a symmetrical pair, so does new EP Pulsars e Quasars with last year's improbable More.
Having already released two albums of analogue synth compositions, New York bedroom composer Alexis Georgopoulos turned to cosmic pop on last year’s ‘More’. The Moog returns here, but ‘Suns’ – two minutes of busted TV static – is an inscrutable opener. The title-track’s pattering snares and vintage keyboards are a welcome jolt, but Arp saves his best for ‘UHF1’ – coasting towards oblivion on guitar hooks and barrelling drum rolls.