All who saw Ian Boddy and Mark Shreeve (aka Arc) in the flesh live on stage at E-Live 2013 will be much pleased with the release of “Umbra”. The latter is a 6-track album capturing the tantalizing live atmosphere of the concert (the duo decides to include the enthusiastic audience reaction to provide a genuine taste of the live experience), carefully edited down to 78-minutes to make it fit on a cd.
Moreover, the usual ARC-suspects pass by in the highly energetic and firmly grounded organic Teutonic electronic music: it ranges from powerful sequencing (all recorded in the studio beforehand as there simply are too many layers and patch chords to handle properly in a live setting) next to a blast of interlocking patterns, occasional melodic parts, drums and many massive textural/choir pads. The melodic, gentler side of the duos music is e.g. nicely expressed through the glowing “Proxima Obscuro”, with some great, faster-paced early Berlin style sequencing in the second half.
ARC’s other side is also reflected in cinematic, atmospheric and delicately molded passages that still keep the listeners attention. The 18-minute title piece and 10-minute “Panthera” both enter darker shaded, otherworldly, gothic-infused and at times mellow-ish realms. Some pumping/distorted Shreeve-sequencers though are never far away in the cinematic-flavored outcome, with a beautifully rendered sense of release felt at the end of “Umbra”. “Autostratus” offers a nice mellow and spherical interlude between these two tracks.
The upfront power and complexity of all elements though making up ARC’s music finds a highlight in the thunderstruck and rocking encore “Cherry Bomb”: after a mellow and jolly melodic intro, it fires all available engines in a 10-minute blast with some great drums and e-guitar.
I for one think listening and experiencing Arc’s music maintains a fascinating experience on many levels on every recording they produce, especially when they kick some ass when they bring their vibrant achievements live to the stage. The outstanding “Umbra” documents and testifies this beautifully once again.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Arc artist page