|photo by Sean McFarland|
Born Alexis Georgopolous, the New York-based artist stands out from the laptop-jock pack with performances conceived as total audio-visual experiences. At every show on the tour, above him plays a film custom-made for his show by Georgopolous himself and the filmmaker Paul Clipson. It's a very po-mo, cut-and-paste assemblage of classic movie scenes and images, a sort of visual sampling meant to trigger emotions and memories.
Then, rather than dance around to a backing track on a Macbook, Georgopolous plays most of his set live, on guitar and a geek-friendly bank of vintage synths, manipulating it all to otherworldly effect with the nifty little inexpensive invention known as an Ebow. (Click here to check out how that works.)
The overall sound has a space-age, kosmiche sort of effect, combining post-glam-rock drama, downtempo, atonal noise, and a host of other experimental, warm tones. And in the face of the wave of cheesy lo-fi electronics currently hitting the Internet, ARP's sound is surprisingly warm and full.
And while he does play individual songs, which we're including here for your free download, you will have to pay close attention to find them in his set. He blends them all seamlessly into a nonstop 40-minute performance that includes improvisation, songs-in-the-making, and material from his latest studio album, The Soft Wave.
To get a taste, check out some tracks below. Out of the gate, "White Light" is a pretty good indication of how ARP defies expectations. The title, of course, sounds like the track is a Velvet Underground rework ... and maybe it is. There are, indeed, snatches of stuttering guitar that could well come from that Velvets' classic. That's about all that's easily recognizeable, though -- although it does get warmed up with washes of distortion and melodic droning that would make John Cale proud.
"Summer Girl," meanwhile, could probably slide in unnoticed on a chillwave mix, except it skips that micro-genre's vaguely dance-y pretenses and never gives in to a steady pulse. Actually, if you miss M83, this slab of bright, electronic shoegaze could lessen your pain.
Finally, we've got "From a Balcony Overlooking the Sea," built on the sound of crashing waves and melting into nostalgic piano. This is also the only track of the three here to feature actual singing, done in a theatrical, sighing style that definitely does recall ARP's beloved influence, Brian Eno.
In any case, the delight of ARP's opening set for Caribou will be in seeing how this creative new artist blends them all together into a seamless sensory experience. Enjoy the MP3s and then try to recognize them in the real-life mix next Tuesday.
ARP, with Caribou. Tuesday, October 19. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $15 in advance from wantickets.com. Visit grandcentralmiami.com.