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Arca is a French project initiated by Joan Cambon and Sylvain Chauveau at the beginning of the year 2000. Their name is a reference to the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa, 'arca' meaning 'chest' in Portuguese (Pessoa left most of his writings inside a chest that was discovered after he died).

Arca is inspired by music, cinema, literature, photographs ans daily occidental sounds. The band uses warm electronic sounds, mixed with organic instruments and rainy guitars to draw melancholic landscapes.



Most of the songs are recorded and mixed at home by Joan, who worked with several bands. Sylvain Chauveau made three instrumental solo records, based on sweet harmonies of piano and strings. He also participates in Micro:mega.

On stage, Arca is composed of 4 people and uses, beside the usual instruments (guitar, bass guitar, drums), glockenspiel and melodica.



-) 2001 : 'Cinématique' on Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier.

Namskeio's point of view :
[...] The music of Arca could be described as an extremely beautiful, deep and brillant meeting of contemporary music and post-rock, with voice samples, various other atmospheres and sounds, dark feelings, intense melodies, ethereal landscapes of extreme beauty, delicate cloudy melancholic ambiences, ghost-like magic drones, ...
Although Arca has been compared with bands like GY!BE, Arca distinguishes itself by its originality and grandeur. Surely one of the best records of the year. This is unique.


StaalPlaat's point of view :
[...] It is very easy to get swallowed into the friendly sounds of Arca debut-album "Cinématique". No instigating noises of any kind interferes with the pure tones of easy listening music that uses elemens of reclining Trip Hop-beats, Postrock-like guitar-refrain, and various wind instruments. The sounds have been put into an electronic world of ambient-scapes and French voice-samples taken from soundtracks of films and audio documents. There is an overall melancholic feeling on the album. On tracks like "Personne", "Orly" and "Quand tombent les toits", the melancholy is based on sensitive ambient while other tracks, especially "La zone", use waving hammond organ sounds to create the melancholic atmosphere. Despite the comprehensive use of electronic tools, the acoustic instruments are quite conspicuous, resulting in a very nice vivid musical expression.
In that sense, Sylvain Chauveau and Joan Cambon have with "Cinématique" created nothing short of a masterpiece. Excellent!

NMP - site.


-) 2003 : 'Angles' on Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier.

The Wire's point of view :
With Arca, Chauveau plays guitar, keyboard and glockenspiel. The music on Angles is that kind of mood-constructing chamber rock steeped in film soundtracts to the point where it suggests its own movie. [...] Varying alignments of instrumentalists allow emphasis to shift, as simple melodic material is repeated and slanted till the hook bites. Each of the ten pieces has an insistent and musically coherent center but, as on Chauveau's solo outing, peripheral elements fizz in the margins. Sample voices break the fram, French and English, female and male, some raising issues of representation and aesthetic composition, all adding enriching friction to the music's smooth attractions.

All Music Guide's point of view :
[...] The songs are heart-taking, developing lush atmospheres clipped in melacholia without sounding frail. Chauveau is a mainstay of the post-rock movement (if we can talk of a movement) and with Angles he shows that Arca could become the biggest band in the field since Tortoise and GY!BE. One possible obstacle is the music's reliance on French spoken voices to develop a sub-text to these otherwise instrumental pieces. Themes of deception, erotic dysfunction and media manipulation are dear to Chauveau and empower the music with a subversiveness that is more convincing that what GY!BE has done, yet if you don't understand French, it will all sound like cliched textural backdrops to you.
The best musical moments happen when a slow, deceptively simple (two, three notes) and repetitive melody on guitar or organ tops a double-time motif - in "Face" and "Perspective of Nude", both featuring mallet percussion (or similar-sounding keyboard patches), the music gets very close to Pierre Moerlen-era Gong without the blandness common in this brand of jazz-rock. Without a single weak track and with plenty of replay appeal, Angles is a must-have and one of the best instrumental rock albums of 2003.

François Couture.



-) Baixa, taken from 'Cinématique'.
-) Polarités, taken from 'Angles'.
-) Nyodene D, taken from 'Angles'.



-) Official website.
-) Sylvain Chauveau.
-) Micro:mega.