Arch (9) vs Sanaas ‎– Ray of Eternity

Lilium Records ‎– LLMR-036
CD, Album



Released at M3 in Autumn 2014.
Distributed digitally by Attack The Music.



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January 4, 2016

Quite a while ago I picked this one up at M3 back in October 2k14. My previous experience with Lilium Record was poor and my familiarity with Sanaas / Arch was limited. The only song from the artists I had heard before was Arch's 'I Wanna Be Happy' which is obviously title inspired by Technohead's classic.

Right off the bat we get a low-bpm UK hardcore banger 'White Garden.' The track is a collab between the two presenters. After opening with a sawed electro bass, a piano break builds into a positive main hook little changed the second time around.
'Hallucination' brings the bpm's back up to regular levels. Through and through the song is decent featuring another piano breakdown but this time accompanied by a flute synth for well-directed harmonics.
Arch showcases his unvarying production style with 'Reset Button' by using softer kick / massive bass similar to hands up. This track fails to stand out whatsoever following the same suit as the last two.
A bit of a change up with 'Intrinsic;' the build-up turns into an electro fueled drop for 2 measures of the first climax. The second disregards the format of the first and focuses strictly on the song's main hook.
Now we move on to ‘Answer’ which is the first vocal track on the album. Actually, the vocals are pretty well written but are distorted as the song builds up into an anthem size drop of flying chords. I’d say Arch hit the right notes on this song setting it apart somewhat from the last 4.
‘Lifestation’ by Arch vs. Nerupipi doesn’t contribute any new elements to the album than had already been presented. Set aside the warped vocoder opening, most of the track resembles 3 and 5 (more regurgitated content).
From the irritating vocoder to the simply ear piercing synth in the breakdown, ‘Apatite Sunlight’ fails on a number of well-defined levels. Recycled from ‘Lifestation’ is the intro. Coming off that the 16 bit inspired breakdown weakly transitions to the unimaginative climax.
At this point I can predict exactly how the next song is going to go down. ‘Drizzle’ (Arch Remix) is structured just like all of Arch’s other songs even though it’s a remix. He may not be directly sampled previous tracks, but the likeness is too great to ignore.
‘Fragile Crystal’ shocks me a bit. The opening drum pattern is far lighter than the last 8 tracks and the format is Makina driven. More vocals, only this time they are absolutely pointless. Good news, the second go around brings another surprise as Sanaas shuffles norms and drops the vocals in unison with the climax.
Nora2r remixes Arch’s ‘Pink Blink.’ Another vocal track, but the climax is lush featuring the lyrics backed by hard synth stabs straight to your brain! The best track on the entire album hands down.
Finally when I think we couldn’t deviate any further from mainstream happy hardcore *sarcasm,* blast me some non-traditional dubstep and now we have a completely divergent song on a completely uniform album. ‘Marine Snow’ (Freezer Rmx) feels just like something Nero would drop as a cheap ID on a set: violent wobbles, spoken word samples, no broken beats.
‘Ray Of Eternity’ caps off what this album stands for. Energetically driven to the break, it transitions into an analog-esque sampled break which in turn dissolves into a cheesy melody that basically tears the song down.

See above: nearly every track follows suit and THAT is why my disappointment outweighed any satisfaction in listening to the album. Happy Hardcore was born to be high-tempo, crazy, cheesy, LSD-fueled dance music the minority would listen to. Please reference ‘Expedicion’ by Dune; this is an example of happy hardcore done right. I’m not expecting Arch, Sanaas, or any producer to copy 90’s hardcore – that will never come back and we must embrace the new style. However, albums like ‘Expedicion’ can set a precedent that others must follow. Mix things up. Don’t recycle the same chords, drum patterns, and samples in every song. Experiment with different styles and song formats. ‘Ray Of Eternity’ showcased little effort was put into the writing of these songs. I nearly put this thing away around track 7. White Garden, Answer, and Pink Blink are the only songs I’ve transferred to my computer and the album is put away unlikely to be listened to anytime soon. Even if the two guys spend months upon months working on this, any album sounding like it was whipped together with 2 weeks in the studio doesn’t deserve 5 stars.