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NiteTalk: Synth King Arp Set to Bliss-Out Grand Central

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Sean McFarland

    Passport officials may know him as Alexis Georgopoulos, but to those of keener ear he is Arp, one serious multi-tasker. Arp is one-half of Q&A, one-third of The Alps, co-conspirator with Henry Cow alumnus Anthony Moore, and sculptor of many a gallery-set aural wonder. Arp brings his ethereal bliss to Grand Central on Oct. 19.

    Okay, you're not Arp UK, Jean Arp or one of the world's first analog synthesizers. So just who are you? I'm someone who took inspiration in the word Arp itself. I was working at a bookshop at the time when I came upon a coffee table book of work by the poet/sculptor Jean Arp. Seeing the word alone on the cover just struck a chord. I felt it hit a point I was searching for. It has clean, modern lines but also suggests the harp, arguably the oldest instrument on earth.

    I somewhat naively thought only synth nerds were aware of the synth company. Actually, that's true. It's just that a lot of those nerds write about music. And so, because of my aesthetic leanings, that assumption is often made.

    Word is you do use analog synths though. Would an Arp perhaps be among them? I've used an Arp synth in some other music projects but not in this one. The palette on "The Soft Wave" and the album I'm writing now is moving away from using synths exclusively. "The Soft Wave" has a lot of piano, guitar, flute and other things. And the next album may even have songs that don't have any synth on them. In the same way that my record with Anthony Moore ("FRKWYS III") used only classical strings, piano and psalter.

    Speaking of analog synths, what do they have that their digital brethren don't? In a word: richness.

    Are there any other sound-producing machines integral to what you're now doing? Piano has emerged as my chosen compositional tool. And it's changing the way I write. Dramatically so.

    And what you are now doing live is reportedly "a multimedia experience" that "draws heavily on material from The Soft Wave." Wanna elaborate a bit on that? Yes, the filmmaker Paul Clipson helped me edit a film that I project. The film is essential to my current live set, and I think it gives people a context that allows them to get into a kind of music that might otherwise be too subtle in a club context.

    Had you worked with Paul Clipson prior to this? I'd seen Paul's films at SFMOMA and various film festivals and had admired it a lot. A screening he did with four simultaneous 16mm films was a particular favorite. We'll be doing something at the Berkeley Art Museum in early November.

    How'd you come to do all this in a limited road run with Caribou? They simply asked me if I'd like to open. I said yes.

    Once this run is done, where do you go?
    Well, the show in Berkeley, hopefully shows in Europe. Then into the studio for the next record.