Dan Andrei's sound has evolved with each release. Every outing has had a distinct aesthetic, with excursions into crunchy house, tribal and lean, dubby fare. More recently, he's been working with a melodic, synth-heavy palette, and the results have been mixed: last year's track on a compilation for Sensual Records was borderline annoying, and his appearance on Vivaltu Remixes felt uninspired next to efforts from Ricardo Villalobos and Petre Inspirescu. But it seems like these spacey productions were stepping stones to the mature sound of Parcul Cosmos (meaning "Cosmos Park"), which is the most varied record [a:rpia:r] has ever released.
Synths, synths, synths—Parcul Cosmos has loads of them. They range from the abstract and glitchy ("Logic," "Bub") to the melodious and melancholic ("Saturat," "Lumo"), and present a range of feeling not present in Andrei's more pared-down work. Andrei's advantage here is that he's not concerned with making dance floor tracks. On Parcul Cosmos, we get electro and experimental house, connected by crisp breakbeats and glossy synths. It's easy to picture the [a:rpia:r] founders doing damage with tracks like "Fuzzy Se Întoarce" and "Fără Vanilie Va Rog."
Parcul Cosmos is an album few people would have expected from either Andrei or [a:rpia:r]. But as a new wave of Romanian music breaks away from the country's established minimal blueprint, it seems possible that more albums like Parcul Cosmos will arrive. This isn't [a:rpia:r]'s strongest release, but when it's all said and done, Andrei reminds us why his music played a vital role in reinvigorating the minimal sound.