ARANDEL is a secret entity whose only function is to let the music take centre stage.
+ a political commitment.
+ an experimental hub where creation stays flexible with no stylistic boundaries.
Arandel is not a band, Arandel is not a character.
Although the album In D is a UFO, its creator, more than a mere unidentified being, is above all a multi-instrumentalist who would like his true identity to remain in the background on this project. Take for instance his mix at the Carrière du Normandoux Festival, where he was concealed by a curtain distilling a DJ set consisting only of vocal tracks: Arandel is a secret entity whose only function is to let the music take centre stage.
Remaining anonymous to explore every given possibility, showing many facets to the world, all underpinned by experimental music: Arandel is a new workshop for this pop craftsman, brought up on krautrock, electro and New York minimalism. It is the far side of an artist who reveals, with In D, his desire to explore new ground by delivering a work that breaks free from pop formats and standard songwriting. An original concept, a whole new sound.
The idea was to create a sound dogma that would represent for music what Lars Von Trier’s Dogma 95 did for cinema. Like Herbert and his PCCOM (Personal Contract for the Composition Of Music) – which established, amongst other things, that he would refrain from using samplers – Arandel laid down as a fundamental rule to only use sounds that he himself had recorded. This constraint formed the basis of the project: creating music in an authentic and honest way, using only the sounds of ‘real’ instruments. This resulted in his own certified brand of organic sounds: no MIDI was used and no samples or synthetic sounds either. ‘MIDI makes anything possible, as it gives the illusion of reality. It’s too easy to use it in the creative process, and the result usually sounds somewhat deceitful.’ Arandel used only the instruments he had in his possession: minimum sound effects were used to the maximum effect. The project is sophisticated in its instrumentation yet was made using completely lo-fi techniques.
Freud claimed that ‘accumulation puts an end to the impression of chance’, and it’s through a fortunate sequence of events that Arandel came to be. Whilst up to then its creator had composed music with the ‘control freak’ approach of a perfectionist songwriter, Arandel is a project that is open to all kinds of input, variations and accidents, as they pave the way for more experimentation. ‘Chance has an essential role to play, says the demiurge of In D. With Arandel, I’ve found a project where the unexpected has free rein and is an integral part of the creative process.’
In other words, Arandel has become a Proposal.
A proposal for variations in D - a nod to Terry Riley’s seminal In C. A proposal that implies constraints, as set forth by the dogma, but no limits: whatever shape Arandel takes on, it remains an open space, a receptive and changing playground, a laboratory where sound alchemy brings together a broad instrumental palette, including analogue drum machines and keyboards, stylophones, flutes, strings, brass and hapi drums. Following the example of In C and its legendary score, devised so that it may be played by any number of instruments, Arandel is an experimental hub, where the rules are deliberately strict but where creation stays flexible. ‘Arandel could function as a collective, as a project with multiple personalities. I’ll keep on being the conductor, its creator explains, but I’d like for Arandel to eventually do its own thing.’
In terms of letting this project thrive and bloom in perpetual motion, collaborations with other artists have already taken place on the album: Fredo Viola lends his versatile voice to the track ‘In D#6’. Double bass, violins, trombones and tenor sax complete the already lavish list of instruments, although they are sparingly brought into play on In D as a whole. Despite its lush instrumentation, each sound, each vocal snippet on the album has been used as a sample, an expressionist motif, and has been combined with others to achieve a perfect mix of intensity and sobriety, resulting in multi-layered 3D pieces of music. In D is a spatial work, riddled with details and ‘micro-accidents’ that put the finishing touches to its lo-fi surface. ‘Once again, chance is the element that provides the texture and leads to the overall coherence’.
The circle is not yet complete; it is open to mutation and a transformation that could occur at any time over the course of chance discoveries that will surely fuel this Proposal further.
text: Stephanie Lopez
Selected discography Arandel
* 2017 : Aleae
* 2016 : Extrapellis
* 2015 : Umbrapellis
* 2014 : Solarispellis
* 2011 : In D remixed
* 2010 : In D
* 2010 : In D#3
* 2010 : In D#5
* 2016 : Yael Naim - I Walk Until (Arandel remix)
* 2013 : Son Lux - Easy (Arandel remix)
* 2013 : Austra - Home (Arandel remix)
* 2013 : Peruvian Folk Music - Wedding Song (Arandel rework)
* 2012 : Composer - Polar Bear (Arandel Remix)
* 2011 : Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K. 488: II. Adagio (Arandel Remix)
* 2011 : Pokett - Three More Chords (Arandel Remix)
* 2011 : Tahiti 80 - Darlin' (Adam & Eve song) (Arandel Remix)
* 2008 : Agoria feat. Scalde - Dust (Arandel Remix)
* 2016 : Bog Bog, The Electronic Ladyland Mixtape
* 2014 : C'est La Mode, A Podcast About Fashion In The French 60's
* 2013 : Hocus Pocus, The Berghain Mixtape
* 2012 : Neige, The Christmas Mixtape
* 2010 : Spéléoliennes, The Library Mixtape
* 2010 : Aube, The Ringing Bells Mixtape
* 2009 : Carols, The Minuit Mixtape