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DiN 15
Blaze by ARC

Limited to 1,500 copies. 1,500 presed.

"Blaze" is the third CD release by ARC and their second CD on the DiN label. The duo is comprised of DiN founder Ian Boddy and Mark Shreeve and the pair are joined on the album by guest musician Carl Brooker who plays drums on four of the discs eight tracks.

Both Boddy and Shreeve have been at the centre of the UK independent synth scene since the late seventies and have known each other since they both appeared at the very first UK Electronica in 1983. Shreeve has been involved with his Redshift project for the last 10 years which has revolved around extensive use of an arsenal of vintage synths including a giant Moog IIIc modular system. With Redshift he has released six albums and performed several concerts as a four piece band.

Boddy first approached Shreeve in 1998 to set up the ARC project to run alongside Redshift in a more experimental and ambient vein. Their first disc "Octane" was released on Something Else Records and was premiered at the alpha-Centauri festival in the Netherlands. "Radio Sputnik", the duos second CD was released as
DiN 7 in 2000 and was a document of this concert.

"Blaze" has a running time of almost 55 minutes spread over eight tracks with a split of five rhythmic and three atmospheric pieces. Their signature sound of muscular Moog sequencer riffs overlaid with layers of ambient keyboard is still very much in evidence. However the addition of acoustic drums played by Carl Brooker on four of the five rhythmic tracks gives an added dimension and subtlety to the sound of ARC. Their music has a great sense of organic development and the drumming of Brooker further adds to the sense of dynamics. Once again ARC have compiled an evocative mix of the early Teutonic synth pioneers with modern ambient electronica.

Track listing:
01 Blaze ( 5.00 ) : Click here for MP3 edit
02 Corrosion ( 9.26 )
03 Trial in Scarlet ( 5.15 )
04 Klangwand ( 10.14) : Click here for MP3 edit
05 Silent White Light ( 4.38 )
06 Sparked ( 5.39 )
07 Mother (5.06)
08 Pulse Train (8.52)

Total Time 54.25

System :
Akai S5000
Analogue Systems Modular
ARP 2600
Emagic ESE
Emagic Logic Platinum
Fender Rhodes Stage 73
Kurzweil K2000
Moog IIIC Modular
Native Instruments B4
Oberheim Xpander
PPG Wave 2.3
Spectrasonics Atmosphere
Studio Electronics Midimini
Yamaha CS30

All tracks composed, played and produced by Ian Boddy & Mark Shreeve, 2002 - 2003.

Drums on tracks 1, 4, 6 & 8 played by Carl Brooker.
Drums recorded at Eversfield Studio, West Sussex.
Engineered by Graham Noon.

Mixed by Mark Shreeve & Ian Boddy at Distant Sun Studio, July - August 2003.

Artwork : Wilfried Weihrauch
Design :

Review by Dene Bebbington in Wind and Wire.

ARC is the name under which the two well known British synth artists, Ian Boddy and Mark Shreeve, collaborate. It's an interesting musical combination - Ian Boddy runs the DiN label which turns out contemporary electronica and has released several solo and collaborative albums; Mark Shreeve has also released solo albums and has been involved with Redshift (which he founded) in retro '70s style (think Tangerine Dream) synth music. Blaze is ARC's third album, being not too dissimilar from Radio Sputnik in the overall feel.

Though analogue equipment is used on the album, they're [the artists, ed.] not treading retro ground by any means. Rather than being one of those albums that hangs together to form a coherent whole, the tracks on Blaze tend to vary and have their own unique character. Half of the eight tracks, including the first and last, are predominantly rhythmic and percussive with sequencing, drums, and hi-hat helping the synth sounds deliver a pulsating structure. After listening to a lot of drifting ambient lately, it made a nice change to put this CD in the player and be faced with the searing opener "Blaze" on which ARC let rip - especially with the drums and cymbals.

Interspersed between the rhythmic tracks are soundscapes with a darkness and edginess to them. The track "Trial in Scarlet" is a good example. It made me imagine walking through the grounds of an old haunted house in the dead of night. Some of the sounds are distinctly eerie and I could imagine this piece being used in the soundtrack to a scary film.

As with many other collaborations between artists who do a lot of solo work, the result in Blaze is more than a sum of the parts. Here the talents of Ian and Mark come out even better than on Radio Sputnik , in my opinion. Blaze should appeal to those who want something exciting to listen to but also enjoy spooky soundscapes and ventures into hard to describe synth creations. Definitely recommended.