New Arp Pulsars e Quasars truly cosmic (pop, that is!)

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Alexis Georgopoulos (aka Arp, one third of The Alps) certainly means business when he opens his new mini-LP titled Pulsars e Quasars with “Suns” a burning, scorching fade in not all that dissimilar from the likes of Spiritualized’s “The Individual,” which appeared on 1997’s opus, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space.

The comparisons to J. Spaceman’s approach to lysergic rock end there, however, as Georgopoulos is more indebted to the pastoral, new age end of the Krautrock spectrum (think Cluster, Neu! and Popol Vuh) along with early (good), Barrett era Floyd — and more recently, we’ve heard him borrow heavily from Brian Eno’s deliberate and detached vocal style circa Another Green World — than Pierce’s VU/MC5/Stooges touchstones. Like Pierce, though, Georgopoulos is adept at creating something new out of something old, in addition to harboring a fondness for a good bit of retro-futurism a la Broadcast and fellow UK hauntological travelers, Ghost Box.

The main reason Pulsars e Quasars works so well is its variation throughout. After the fairly straightforward but very enjoyable title track he enlists fellow Alps traveler, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma for a “version” of the previous track, entitled “Chromatiques II (Extended Mix)” and it’s some of Ledesma’s finest work to date; blissful waves of dronegazing, or, is it just (just) the noise of the night sky blazing overhead at thousands of miles per hour while we sleep?

“UHF1” does a great job at combining the two aforementioned elements into one cohesive whole, the first half something right out of Eno’s early songbook, the second half adding layers of noise, all blurred verticles ever ascending. “On Returning” might have you second guessing Ledesma’s presence again at a ‘version’ of the previous track as well. You’d be forgiven thinking “The Violet Hour (Film Dub)” was by aforementioned, sadly now dissolved UK retro-futurist hauntologists Broadcast, as it certainly captures that whole “eerie-film-score-to-a-1960s-b-movie-arthouse-film-that-really-never-existed” feeling.

To close out the release, Georgopoulos tacks on (but the key here is that it doesn’t feel tacked-on) a remix of a track from his 2013 full-length release, More (Smalltown Supersound), by Le Revelateur (ex-Godspeed You Black Emperor’s Roger Tellier-Craig) which filters intense electronic squiggles and textures and completely at place here.

There’s a looseness to this EP that just feels right; right down to the song sequence and the diversity of styles on display—including the odd, unlikely inclusion of musicians &/or remixers, Pulsars e Quasars is an utterly enjoyable ride, even if it is all too brief.

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