Release Date: Mar 4, 2016
Record label: Caroline
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
Denver, Colorado's Thug Entrancer (Ryan McRyhew) established his intriguing hybrid electro sound on 2014's excellent Death After Life, his debut full-length for Daniel Lopatin's Software label, but he goes further on his highly advanced follow-up. While Death After Life consisted of hypnotic excursions that occasionally headed toward the ten-minute mark, Arcology is much more focused and refined, packing more twists and turns and surprising elements into shorter track times. There's also much more of a sci-fi element to the album, from the cyborg cover artwork to track titles referencing virtual reality and exosomatic memory.
Like so much electronic music to have come before it, Thug Entrancer's Arcology has futurist themes encoded deep within its DNA. It takes its title from a term coined by the architect Paolo Soleri, best known for Arizona's Arcosanti community, meant to describe architecture in balance with ecology. But the album's press release speaks of alien colonies and world-building, while its cover art features a cybernetic figure wearing what look like VR goggles; a cable extrudes from the back of his skull, Matrix-style.
Ryan McRyhew makes machine music with soul. Not "soul" in the traditional, Motown sense, rather more in the Ghost In The Shell or A.I. kind of way. His tracks are technically impressive and programmed with precision, but there's an uncanny amount of feeling behind the futuristic sheen. It's music ….
Arcology, the sophomore album from Thug Entrancer (a.k.a. Denver sound-clasher Ryan McRyhew), is very nerdy. Look at the song titles alone! “ROM” likely stands for read-only memory, “Arrakis” could only be a planet in sci-fi opus Dune, “Curaga” names a spell in video game odyssey Final Fantasy, and “Xeno” might refer to multiple things but given the aforementioned evidence is likely a live action role-playing series.
“Invisible nearby sea. Inaudible. The entire surface under grass.”– Samuel Beckett The dark expanse of the cosmos. In the gaslit semidarkness: sparse, mineral-rich, craggy, moss-covered scrub. Inside the adobe walls, the domestic nocturnal environment reveals itself.. Lantern-like, a vortex ….