This first CD documents the early days of Arc. Formed spontaneously in Fall 1999, the trio immediately started to record its live performances. The group's eponymous album features one untouched live track ("(---)") and two more that are collages of several performances. Each piece runs for 15 minutes or more. Aidan Baker already had released an album of experimental electric guitar soundscapes (Element), and the musical direction of this project follows the same path, adding two percussionists (Richard Baker and Christopher Kukiel). These are long, slowly evolving jams mainly featuring multi-layered guitar loops and djembe or tablas. Very ambient, the music recalls early Ash Ra Temple or National Health, or the keyboardless space rock of Shalabi Effect. "Beautiful, Great Person" includes samples, turntable work, and some raunchy distorted guitar passages, giving the closing moments of the CD a more experimental taste. Some segments have less-than-average sound quality, with the audience even getting disruptive at one point. Given proper recording facilities, this trio could achieve something very interesting. Arc is hopefully only a teaser of things to come.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture