[sic] Magazine

Rudi Arapahoe – Echoes From One to Another

Symbolic Interaction
Reviewed by Michael Henaghan

Little is known about the mysterious Rudi Arapahoe except that he resides somewhere in the idyllic English countryside and has authored the riveting “Echoes from One to Another” for Japanese imprint Symbolic Interaction. Based around the Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy”, Arapahoe laces a narrative throughout this record, much like Last Days’ “Sea” and “These Places Are Now Ruins”. “Echoes From…” takes the listener on a journey from the moment of death through a haunting passage into the afterlife, discussing purgatorial thematics of lust and sin.

Arapahoe plays the roles of conductor and composer, utilizing field recordings and antique electronics, while directing a collective of musicians who engage instruments including harp, violin and vintage synthesizers. The effect is somewhat remarkable, as Arapahoe weaves a fabric of forgotten sounds, fusing nocturnal ambiences with noir-classical instrumentation and echo-dappled folk. The fleeting elfin-chanteuse vocals of Kaithlin Howard only add to the mystique surrounding this release. Beginning with the angelic harp-led vignette of “I Close My Eyes and Float to the Ceiling” and ending with the equally celestial “My Shadow (Vanishes)”, Arapahoe’s journey is like no other. “Echoes From…” effortlessly produces some of the most gorgeous pieces of music put to record this year. From the soft, twilight piano of “Lunar Semaphore” to the stirring “To Gather Flowers”, which is both beatific and desolate in equal measures.

The title track shades the region between Helios and Max Richter, offering the folkish acoustic guitar picking of the former, while paying heed to the cinematic nature of the later. When Arapahoe utilizes a range of field recordings (rain, storms, haunting whispers, pulsing heartbeats, shuffling feet, foliage and spiritual ambiences) he steeps much of the record in the traditions of labels such as Type and Miasmah, with artists like Elegi, Svarte Greiner and Deaf Center particularly coming to mind. While the subject matter of “Echoes…” may be rather morose, especially the crude Dictaphone recording found on “Conversation Piece”, the warmth and radiant nature of Arapahoe’s compositions are somewhat uplifting. A romantic melancholia dissolves much of the elegiac desolation and replaces it with a paradisiacal grandeur. A wonderful, wonderful record.