[sic] Magazine

555 – Arcosanta

To say Chris Farstad’s new, philosophical-leaning Arcosanta is a clash of the old and the new implies too much friction between the two. Just as he did on Solar Express and Nine Gates, his ambient synth compositions span the two seamlessly, echoing the harmony advocated by transcendentalist thinking – a major component in Arcosanta’s construct. Drawing inspiration equally from architect Paolo Soleri’s utopian town-planning, the album is named in honour of Arcosanti, an experimental town in Arizona in which man seeks to reconcile his relationship with nature. Farstad’s track titles, on the other hand, hail from tarot and “Ten Of Cups” contains an interesting spoken-word sample on the subject of psychic potential and dream.

Farstad’s increasing interest in Eastern theosophy (one track is called “The Heirophant” – someone who interprets sacred or esoteric principle) manifests, too, via his employment of Carnatic flute, a bamboo instrument from southern India often found the region’s spiritual music (see his Bio-Vita mix below for a fuller introduction). Along with organic field recordings its use adds an unobtrusive, forest-mist level of mysticism to Arcosanta’s sampler loops and amorphous drones. The result is a celebration of dense New Age synth and a cascade of pretty effect layers that unwind like modems at a spa retreat. Farstad calls his nebulous zen Now Age and who are we to argue? Just don’t get hung up on the flutes. They’re not panpipes. Honest.

~Arcosanta is out now on cassette via Moon Glyph.~

Bio-Vita Mix #001 by 555 on Mixcloud