“Grace,” the poet Frank O’Hara once wrote, “to be born and live as variously as possible.” Though early in his musical career, this ambitious but certainly worthy aspiration toward “variousness” might be said to be the defining characteristic behind the artistic output of Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp.
After all, not many people can claim to have curated and performed at New York’s downtown bastion of the avant-garde, The Kitchen, to have been DJ’ed by NY underground disco pioneer David Mancuso, to have soundtracked a Chanel runway show per Karl Lagerfeld‘s request and to have released an album of minimalistic classical music, Arp & Anthony Moore’s FRKWYS 3 (2010, RVNG Intl).
After touring his 2010 solo album, The Soft Wave, a New York Times’ “overlooked highlight” of 2010, Georgopoulos took a break from performing live, choosing instead to work on projects in the worlds of art and modern dance, creating sound installations at the Walker Art Center for architect/designers ROLU, making a conceptual Flexi-Disc 7″ for White Zinfandel magazine, contributing a track for a Sol Lewitttribute album, scoring a dance piece for Merce Cunningham dancer Jonah Bokaer, and most recently, performing a site-specific collaboration with visual artist Tauba Auerbach at Philip Johnson’s Glass House, to be released in late August on LP/CD as ERRATICS by RVNG Intl.
Although The Soft Wave may be his most-heard album so far, Georgopoulos’ collaboration with Englishman Anthony Moore may provide more appropriate background for MORE. Not merely content to espouse the voguish sounds of the day, Georgopoulos decided early in 2012 that he’d abandon his analog synthesizer-centric abstractions in favor of something he’d never previously done, write songs. The better to challenge himself. As such, with MORE, he has made his first album-length foray into song. The 12 pieces that make up MORE might best be heard as distinct scenes in a single film. And this being his first New York album, the city figures in significantly, both in scale and in character.
Perhaps best described as a pop album by an avant-garde musician, MORE is an album that begins in one place and ends in another, melding bedroom art-pop with avant-garde composition to create a world of heady atmospherics and melodic song craft over its concentrated 46 minute arc. Played almost entirely by Georgopoulos, MORE reveals an impressive grasp of style and vision, following a distinct narrative, dipping into 70s art rock, autumnal baroque pop, musique concréte, minimalistic piano epics, narcotic gospel, sound library atmospheres, and delicate space folk. For a taste of what MORE has to offer, listen to album track,“More (Blues),” which suggests a stoned choirboy fronting a gospel church group, Georgopoulos’ delicate delivery melding with the song’s narcotic sway.
LISTEN TO/SHARE ARP’S “MORE (BLUES)” –
MORE establishes Georgopoulos not as a stylistic shapeshifter but rather as a restless artist not content to stay put. Like a visual artist who works on a particular body of work within a larger body of work, he makes albums as complete wholes. And then he makes another. If MORE seems like quite a different beast fromThe Soft Wave or FRKWYS 3, as the dust settles, they will reveal an artist who follows his own trajectory, regardless of trend. If MORE proves we do not know what Georgopoulos might do next, his work is all the more compelling for it.
“exquisite . . . a real keeper.” – Uncut
“simultaneously fleet-footed and humid, which lends the album a distinctly tropical vibe . . . Overwhelming, yes, but beauty needs to be tempered with noise sometimes.” – Pitchfork
“Just missing our 2010 Best Of list is this analog beaut of kosmische flow motion from Alexis Georgopoulos. Despite nods to Eno, Rother and Riley, his groove has a luminescence all of its own.” – MOJO
“Easily one of the best local releases of the year. Ethereal, expansive, extroverted and quixotic.” – Village Voice
01. High-Heeled Clouds
02. Judy Nylon
03. A Tiger in the Hall at Versailles
04. E2 Octopus
05. Light + Sound
06. 17th Daydream
07. Gravity (For Charlemagne Palestine)
08. Invisible Signals
09. More (Blues)
10. Daphne & Chloe