Review Summary: Ital Tek has found his voice, with refined and dynamic ideas and soundscapes bursting fourth within these 13 gorgeous and dynamic tracks.
Recently watching 2001: A Space Odyssey has somehow influenced the attraction of this album to me, passing through shifting neon patterns, along with deserted canyons and the clean yet cold emptiness of space. What really stands out with this album is how it can transform from grimy and wallowing in darkness and filth, to soaring above mirrored colored skyscrapers built three thousand years after your birth. Electronic music can be difficult to classify, describing it visually is sometimes more descriptive of the music.
This album is complex, yet somehow very accessible. Neon Arc stars off with a dynamically shifting bass sample, and warbles around in curves, that you have to follow with your frontal cortex. Paying attention to the music, and processing it as it plays is very enjoyable, as if its a complex math problem involving shifting neon colored blocks. Throughout the album there is a very distinct "abandoned future city" theme that the album just embraces, and runs with.
At times it feels completely alien, with sounds that have, in my opinion, never been conceived of before. Some songs have traditional structures, and some build and build, until you are lost in a torrent of beauty. A great example of this is the song "Babel" which I envision going sideways in a glass elevator, touring all of Tokyo in four minutes at a thousand feet per second. The tracks are each unique, yet have a subtle cohesion with the other tracks, and as with albums you enjoy a lot, it ends far too soon.
"Black and White" is a standout track on the album. Quite possibly one of the most amazing electronic songs I've heard all year. Shimmering, slick and just damn catchy, its easy to hit repeat the first time you hear it. The songs must be heard to really be truly experienced, with headphones and sitting on the rug in your darkened apartment is the best environment. "Moment In Blue" is another incredible standout track, with slight touches to Burial and Underworld, but with its own voice. At times this album could be the culmination of many different albums that have been made, almost an anthology of well polished music, with a unique voice.
I have to give a paragraph to "Restless Tundra" featuring Anneka's gorgeous vocals. This track is such a fitting way to end the album, its like falling into a deep sleep and going to a place you want to be. Its incredible the range of emotion Alan can convey with simple rhythm, and with the notes making particularly obvious movements, but the presentation really stands out on this track, though it is apparent throughout the album.
Coming from Aphex Twin, then Boards of Canada, and now Burial, this album to me represents the next step in electronic music; organics. The album literally sounds as if a chorus of unknowns from outer space is playing a chorus of different keyboards, and the ruined futuristic cityscape is providing the haunting echoes in the background. Familiar, and yet somehow completely new and original.