Boomkat Product Review:
Killer, overlooked proto-techno/kosmische from Düsseldorf, 1987, adding to a bevy of aces on Stefan Schneider far-reaching TAL label - already a home to records of Kenyan folk and Venezuelan field recordings.
Finally finding its audience on vinyl over 30 years since the original, self-made edition of 50 tapes, Arctica is a strong testament to the explorative experiments of Detlef Funder a.k.a. Konrad Kraft, whose homebuilt hardware sound attempted to bridge the clinical crispness of Kraftwerk and the psychedelia of Amon Düül with the density and force of industrial, post-punk and disco.
The cryogenically preserved results are a genuine oddity within their field and still sound remarkably future-proofed a whole generation later. Made using an 8-track tape recorder, a Mitec EX mixing desk, Roland JX3P and 808, Korg Monopoly, DX7, SPX90 and a Revox PR99, the 10 tracks of Arctica feel as though they’re fluidly in-between states; alternately vast, frozen, clear and melting with a rare tactility that would be further distilled into his run of razor sharp trance-techno output for the likes of Fragile in the ‘90s.
Emerging at the very start of his production arc, Arctica catches a sense of naive wonder from the man and his machines, rendering a lucid mind-flight that reveals from shockingly clear and detailed clouds of fizzing bleeps in Arc 2, to pieces which feel like huge glaciers beginning to fracture below your feet, and a number of pulsing, ruddy dancers that will be the biggest attraction to a lot of DJs digging that late ‘80s crevice between hardware experiments and early home computer efforts on the Amiga and Steinberg’s software sequencers.
Seriously, it’s just a no brainer for anyone into E.M.A.K., the more rhythmic experiments of Dome/Graham Lewis/Bruce Gilbert, or its modern antecedents in the whole Tolouse Low Trax/Offen Music/Valdimir Ivkovic axis.