“Though Arc Lab’s 2007 release “No Spectre” displayed potent levels of production prowess, the emotional aspects one has come to expect from an n5MD release didn’t quite reach the same mark. On his second outing for the Californian imprint, Torontonian Medard Fischer has struck the perfect balance between the two aspects, authoring a certain career best piece of work, if not one of the most original releases in the IDM field for some time. “The Goodbye Radio” runs very much like the title suggests, as if Fischer is slowly guiding us through a variety of channels or stations on the radio spectrum. Confounding the set-in-stone rules of a stagnant IDM genre, hisses of static, soft piano sonnets, distant, grainy monologues and tranquil orchestral segments all weave their way throughout Fischer’s rich, intricate tapestry. To say the variety on the 50+ minutes of music here is remarkable would be doing Arc Lab a disservice. The way so many styles are uniquely incorporated is downright ingenious. “Transients” establishes the mood early on mixing radio interference with grainy, melodious drones, soft twilight tones and indecipherable speech, as if the radio dial has absent-mindedly been left between stations. From there, Fischer ushers us towards the serene pairing of “Reflexives Part 1 & Part 2”. The first part introduces a soft piano led melody and sombre orchestration, while it’s accompanying second part finds Fischer adding subtle electronics and soulful chimes and tones. In keeping with the radio concept, “Song for Oleg” is a haunting electro pop number, as Fischer spins that dial towards a style that vaguely resembles his label mate Tobias Lilja. While, “I Wish I Could Tell You” pleasingly mixes chilled male/female vocals with a velvet synth backdrop to produce what can only be described as the album’s radio friendly unit shifter. The fact that these differing styles are seamlessly blended is testament to Fischer’s production capabilities. A lesser musician may well have folded under such an ambitious concept. Given these sentiments, the strange “Recidivist Waltz”, a medieval sounding harpsichord piece, and the poignant “Like Conquistadors”, augment the overall flow rather than hinder. If anything, they add a personal touch, as if Fischer has invited us to trawl through his listening habits. As the closing number “Departure Music” fades into quiet, the only cause for concern on this release is possibility of a cryptic message in the album title (and indeed the last track). On this form, we really can’t afford to lose Arc Lab.”
Hidden Shoal MixTape
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