Album Review: In Arcadia – Phon (Trepanation Recordings)

Ambient, electronic, instrumental, drone and noise soundscapes from Rochester, UK. In Arcadia is the solo project of Upcdownc guitarist Chris Garth, a band that we’ve been excitedly following since their debut release Red Museum. Which was later followed by the debut full-length, From the Dark.

Now, as 2020 comes to a close, In Arcadia bring us ‘Phon’ a three-track (or three-part) album. Out on December 18th 2020 via Trepanation Recordings.

From In Arcadia:

Phon started life not long after I completed my debut album “From The Dark”, released earlier this year. I wanted to make something more abstract and drawn out and was listening to a lot of Tangerine Dream at the time.

The word “Phon” refers to “a unit of perceived loudness of sounds” and texture and dynamics have always been important to me when composing music. Each of the three pieces is built around a lead instrument. With Phon 1 and 3, I concentrated on using synths or keys, whereas Phon 2 is more drum and percussion based.

To me the album has an other-worldly science fiction feel, which inspired the artwork. I was lucky to enlist the graphic design skills of my friend Yasmin El-Amery who came up with three great visual representations for each of the movements. Ideally the album should be listened to as one long piece to create a story in your head, kind of like War of the Worlds without the narration.

 

 

As unique as always, In Arcadia’s Phon begins with an intangible blend of sci-fi infused synth and profound atmosphere. Almost immediately, it draws you in to a surprisingly comforting world. Surprising because the synth is eerie and other-worldly. As it dissipates, we get something akin to the heartbeat of a computer that builds back up with a more intimidating atmosphere. Here the sci-fi vibes become even more vibrant and movie-like.

That vibrancy then evolves into a warmer, mellower tone that ends up shrouded in darkness and wrapping up the highly impressive Part One.

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Part Two is layered with darkness and focuses on drums with moody atmosphere for a measured slab of building dread. It sounds and feels so very dangerous as the tempo increases in intensity. As the synth builds back up in the latter few minutes, it leads into Part Three that really takes us on a chillier but sweet melodic voyage to begin with. Subtly but impressively, like stars winking into existence, beauty grows before your very eyes… or ears in this case.

Deeper and more detailed synth but never moving too far from the more chilled out style it embodied at the start. It’s very easy to find yourself soothed and drifting away as it plays out.

Another exceptional and ingenious offering from In Arcadia.

In Arcadia – Phon Full Track Listing:

1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three




Links

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In Arcadia - Phon (Trepanation Recordings)
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