Bart M. : If you visited Roadburn 2018 you might have seen them lying around: the EP's that were handed out by Arl3cch1no. I happened to get my hands on one and when I listened to it a couple of days after it was very pleasant to my ears. I also like the idea that the band promoted themselves in this way. It is called DIY and it makes me wonder if in this day and age it is necessary for bands to do things like that.
Arlecchino, Italian for harlequin, is an interesting name. The harlequin is a person who can basically do anything and get away with it, and that is also what this band name stands for: musical freedom, create any music you like. What we hear on 'Psyche' is a peculiar sound that is not easily placed within the usual genres.
It starts out quite oppressively, with the instrumental 'Psyche', a song that, with quiet piano and slow bass- and drum manages to capture an atmosphere that reminded me of one night when I was wandering lost through Berlin, in between tall and unfamiliar buildings, across empty squares. But this song adds the feeling of being followed, being watched, and everytime you take a look behind you there is nothing there. This atmosphere of distance and abandonment carries on throughout the record, with slow, lingering and heavy passages and well built up layers of music that invite you to come along and explore the darker recesses of the mind. In stark contrast to these vague soundwaves is the strong and clear voice of singer Stephanie Marin and those two things seem to often be going in opposite directions, but in a way that makes perfect sense. Like two magnets that are drawn towards each other but change direction as soon as you turn them. The whole album is a loom of sounds and happenings, with the singer being the weaver who, with her powerful and very well articulating voice sows things together very neatly. This becomes extra evident in the song 'Deja Vu', where things come together harmoniously and the interaction between music and vocals conjures up emotions that will not leave you untouched.
'Psyche' is a nice debut record and interesting to people who like music that summons a certain, sinister ambiance. You can stream the album here.