Arpanet / 30Drop - Phases

  • Published
    2 Jul 2018
  • Label
    30drop Records
  • Released
    June 2018
  • Genre
  • The solid comeback of a key electro project.
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  • Arpanet is one of Gerald Donald's more peculiar projects. Its records—the most recent of which, Inertial Frame, came out 12 years ago—mixed the exaggerated sci-fi of early Dopplereffekt with aching loneliness, along with a helping of the weirdness from other projects like Zwischenwelt and Der Zyklus. After a string of excellent and increasingly out-there Dopplereffekt records, Donald has revived the project for a split with 30Drop, an equally mysterious artist who also traffics in ethereal electro. The Arpanet side is catnip for Gerald Donald followers but the split format results in a record that feels unbalanced. Donald contributes two beatless tracks, and the shorter "Supernova Remnant" stands out. It has all the standard touches, with uncanny synths floating in the background and a bassline that feels both heavy and brittle as it crawls along. The arpeggiated lead doesn't quite sync with the low-end as some chords do their thing in the background. It shouldn't work but it creates an uneasy atmosphere reminiscent of the best, and simplest, Arpanet tracks. "Main Sequence Star" is more anxious, with a snaky lead underpinned by a click that keeps time. Like "Supernova Remnant," it's uniquely spooky. The best part is also the starkest, fading out into a synth passage that gradually dissipates into silence. 30Drop's tracks feel like fluorescent lights compared to Arpanet's flickering candles. "Disharmonic Gait" has a Detroit-inspired warmth, while "Halo In The Glass" tries a little too hard to sound atmospheric. Neither have the spacious emptiness that makes Arpanet so captivating. Either way, Phases is a good electro EP that shows Gerald Donald is still one of the sound's key forces.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Arpanet - Supernova Remnant A2 Arpanet - Main Sequence Star B1 30Drop - Disharmonic Gait B2 30Drop - Halo In The Glass