In the ridiculously varied phases and moods of music I’ve gone through in my near half-century on the planet, this one seems to be new. Amid the standards – ‘70s guitar rock, doomed-out sludge, pagan black, Southern hymnody and Neofolk – this ambient thing has thrown me.
Maybe I’m appreciating what background music can be? Damned if I could tell you, but here’s AREPO, a duo with a past in everything from BLEACH EVERYTHING (who I have heard and enjoy) to HARMONIC CROSS (who I haven’t, but will after this). Okay, the one-sheet referring to the album as “the most off-putting and least accessible record” either has been involved in might’ve drawn me in.
And draw one in, ‘The Enemy Is Listening’ does. Don’t look for lyrics, at least not of the discernable sort, at least not yet. Instead, hissed whispers, from vip’rous, forked tongues issue from throats serpentine and, for once, I’m glad I’m not listening with headphones or in some altered state of consciousness. Choral, almost ritualistic at its end, and wafting into ‘Smoke From Unseen Fires’, which drifts into and out of the subconscious, clearly of its namesake.
‘Nonmaterial’ was and remains the most unexpected of what’s on offer within Arepo, Zeit-era TANGERINE DREAM subtly interweaving with what easily could’ve been found on any number of JEAN-MICHEL JARRE albums in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. ‘A Forest Of Knives’ takes a darker turn, the snickity-snak of blades against one another as twigs in the breeze almost audible, while ‘Ineluctable Modality Of The Visible’ brings all to a close, glitches, pops and an expansive mix/master making me reach for the headphones before pressing Play again.
AREPO has delivered in fine fashion here, and Arepo I can unabashedly say is my favorite (nearly) instrumental release of the year thus far, possibly the last five. By allowing all sonic textures their space in the weaving, this duo has crafted a tapestry truly rare.
Review By: Lord Randall
5 / 6