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Arp is the work of Alex Georgopolous, a New York City-based artist and composer whose work ranges from minimalist synthesizer explorations to abstract singer/songwriter pop. Previously a member of dance-rock group Tussle during the early 2000s, he emerged as a solo artist in 2007, releasing the hypnotic, primarily electronic In Light. He greatly expanded his sound with 2010's more densely orchestrated The Soft Wave, then shifted toward experimental, sometimes Baroque pop with 2013's More. In 2018, he kicked off a trilogy of new work with Zebra, a lush, organic album informed by Fourth World fusion and cosmic jazz. Second installment New Pleasures followed in 2022. The first-generation American child of French and Greek parents who was brought up in all three countries, Georgopolous started out in San Francisco, where he co-founded the instrumental dance-rock quartet Tussle in the early 2000s, primarily as a bassist, drummer, and percussionist. After the recording of their second album, Telescope Mind, Georgopolous departed the group to focus on a new project based on his exploration of synthesized electronic textures. The project named Arp was inspired by several different points of reference: Halton C. Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, the artists Sophie-Tauber Arp and Jean Arp, the defunct synth company, and the word's closeness in sound to "harp." His first endeavor under the moniker was a gallery installation piece in 2006, created in collaboration with an architect and consisting of an enclosed modular space with a feather bed just large enough for two people to lie down and listen to his minimalist synthesizer compositions on endless repeat. Several of these pieces were later included on In Light, his 2007 debut album for Smalltown Supersound, which was recorded almost completely live using an array of analog synths with occasional touches of flute and piano, and overtly influenced by the early-'70s work of Cluster and Kraftwerk. The year 2010 saw the release of Arp album The Soft Wave, as well as an installment of the Frkwys series in collaboration with Slapp Happy founder Anthony Moore. Music from Arp found itself featured prominently in soundtracks to runway shows, films, modern dance performances, and many other unlikely avenues. Georgopolous also spent lots of time in collaboration with visual artists like Doug Aitken, Matt Connors, and Chris Johansen, as well as making music as a member of exploratory instrumental psych-folk trio the Alps and short-lived DFA act Q&A. Apart from his myriad musical projects, Georgopolous also stayed active as a writer on art, music, and design as well as curating various concerts, film screenings, and other events. Arp's music took a turn away from the minimal in 2013 with the still experimental but more traditional pop sounds of More. In late 2014, an EP entitled Pulsars e Quasars surfaced, mixing the Eno-isms of More with decidedly more experimental tracks. Georgopolous also collaborated with Max Ravitz (Patricia) under the named Masks, releasing an EP of abstract techno tracks titled Food Plus Drug (II) on Opal Tapes. In 2016, Geographic North released Arp's Inversions cassette, which included works composed for a 2014 installation titled In Waves. The full-length Zebra appeared in 2018, blending his previous minimalist and cosmic influences with textures inspired by '80s Japanese pop and light synth-boogie. Georgopolous assembled a band to re-create the album for several live shows, and the resultant sounds were so strong he went about re-recording some of the material from Zebra with the live ensemble. Those re-recordings, along with four new pieces, were offered up in 2019 as Ensemble Live, a mini-album with a limited vinyl run. In 2022, Georgopolous returned with New Pleasures, the second album in the trilogy that had begun with Zebra. Instead of the mellow electro-acoustic atmospheres of Zebra, New Pleasures explored more kinetic and futuristic sounds, with lively electronic rhythms and generally busier arrangements.
© K. Ross Hoffman & Paul Simpson /TiVo
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