Released: 20 October 2017
Arc, the UK duo of Ian Boddy & Mark Shreeve, returned to the stage in force at the 13 May 2017 E-Scape EM Festival. Their resulting album is Fleet (74’31”), and includes seven select pieces from their performance. Only in part a vehicle for release and liberation, their live shows always reach towards the unseen depths within all of us. A compelling team on the stage or in the studio, we find that after so many years together their creative flame is still burning brightly. From start to finish, Boddy & Shreeve know where we are headed. Recruiting technology they feel could best carry their intents, it is a devotion to form, structure and rigorous compositional development that yields these tightly arranged and perfectly paced live works. So enormous are its gifts that this music nearly remakes the space around us. Bursting with moody sensuality Fleet takes each member of its audience on their own personal journey. This electrical, mechanical music obviously has something warm and human stirring far down in it. With its deep space gateways and brilliant, skull crushing sequencer breakdowns, from the heights of its combustible, cut loose, superb heedlessness, on down to its quietly ominous consuming dark fields, Fleet invites wonder. While some pieces were designed to be nothing more than a fun good time, this album’s best works should unsettle the world into which it intercedes. In ever strengthening whirlpools of thought, Boddy & Shreeve deploy rows of echoing tone patterns and banks of synthesized harmonies. Unblinking, completely in control, their formidable powers of sound design can leave listeners feeling profound and impervious to lasting harm. Heroic keyboard leads and Mellotron chords peak over a pumping, commanding bassline and rocked-out drumming – only later to be drawn down into shifting shadows of sustaining synth textures and a quiet sense of mystery. Fleet provides an epic intimacy in the digital age. In a time where just going to a concert becomes a symbolic act, we love to look back at the decade of the 1970s – as it was bursting so with musical abandon. But our so-called Electronic Spacemusic still keeps taking musicians (and us) to new and fascinating places. So many currents have contributed to its arrival, that one modernistic label should not be allowed to overshadow all else – even as it dares to satisfy us in a way music of an earlier age used to.