Archive: Volume One
A.R.C. Soundtracks are based in the north of England. Marrying bleak organ and guitar drones to distant tribal percussion and disembodied spoken-word vocals, they make for an unsettling listen. Their debut album ‘Archive: Volume One’ moves from sparse, fragmentary pieces (‘And you’d step out, ‘Lee Strasberg’’) to dense, slow-shifting blankets of sound (The Road To The Camp, The Hidden Home). Its haunted, blown-out sonics sometimes recalls artists like Throbbing Gristle, Ben Frost and The Haxan Cloak. Two-thirds of the A.R.C. Soundtracks project are K. Craig and David Armes, founding members of Manchester-based band Last Harbour.
Last Harbour – ‘If you mean to be lost’ [from ‘Escape was all I ever meant’ remix album, 2012] Fuzzy Lights – ‘The Hour’ [from ‘Rule Of Twelfths’ remix EP, 2013] Aidan Baker [Nadja, Caudal, B.B.S.] w/Jessica Bailiff – ’30 Days, 30 Nights’ [from ‘Tout Juste Sous…’ remix EP, 2013]
A.R.C. Soundtracks – A brief history
A.R.C. Soundtracks began as nothing. Three people put all their equipment into one room and then sat down to look at it, to wonder where to begin, to consider where it all began.
That’s not strictly true. The three people behind A.R.C. Soundtracks had known one another and played music together for over fifteen years. Two of us had an idea to help bring the playing and ideas of the third to some kind of necessary fruition. Marc Rahr was our friend, collaborator, schemer and tormentor. He was a wild card from the first time we all met. It was he who decided we would play music with him, not the other way round. But his was never a path of easy solutions. He would have the kernel of an idea, and then move on to the next – and the next – before others had a moment to let the original notion gestate. Some people are all about the end result, some people are more concerned with the process. Marc’s journey wasn’t even about the process. A web of concepts was forever spinning beneath his feet, keeping him from staying steady enough to follow an obvious route.
So, the three of us improvised for two weekends solid. Nothing was repeated. It was constant movement without a map or discussion. Then, over the months that followed we went back over the recordings, refined and edited. Slowly but surely, out of hours and hours of sound, ‘pieces’ began to take shape. No-one was sure who played what; each of us was dissolved. Several more sessions two years on made the work more concrete. We had a recording that worked coherently and demanded our attention. It felt almost complete.
Then, in February 2012, Marc died. Neither of us listened to, or even contemplated, the A.R.C. project. But, it called us back. Marc’s ideas called us back. What originally began as a necessity became necessary again. Scattering his ashes months later on a cold hilltop with his mother and a priest, a windfarm whirring away across the next hillside, brought us back from stasis. The situation was made real again. We were pushed towards the need to make A.R.C. concrete. A solid artefact. For what purpose is hard to say, but that artefact is what you now have in your possession. – K. Craig & David Armes // A.R.C. Soundtracks // November 2013.