ARP is Alexis Georgopoulos, aka the San Francisco to New York composer whose second album The Soft Wave is something I’ve suddenly found myself listening to on a regular basis. The mix of analog synthesizers, guitars, piano, flute, EBow (on 2-inch tape) works as elegant background noise as well as being unavoidably dense, enveloping, and emotionally resonant. Georgopoulos has ties to the art and compositions worlds — he’s worked with Doug Aitken, scored for Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown dancers, composed a sound installation at the Audio Visual Arts Gallery, and performed with minimalist composer Anthony Moore — but the music isn’t “arty” or studied. There’s a soulfulness here — even in songs titled “Pastoral Symphony: I. Dominoes II. Infinity Room.” That, and the nine tracks work together as one larger narrative or dynamic: When voice and downcast/scene-establishing lyrics (and the sound of waves…) enter the picture during the penultimate track “From A Balcony Overlooking The Sea,” instead of breaking the spell, the release feels inevitable, well-earned, and necessary. Dip in via “Summer Girl,” the pretty instrumental — noise-bursting, romantic liturgical music — that comes before it.
A change of pace:
The Soft Wave is out 9/7 via Smalltown Supersound. Outside of ARP, Georgopoulos has a DFA-related project Q&A. His other band the Alps released their studio debut III on the mighty Type. And, speaking of art, on 7/17 ARP’s performing as a part of MoMA PS1’s aforementioned Warm Up series with Air France and Ratatat. Will be interesting to hear where those sounds seep outdoors.