French producer Arkasia has a lot going for him right now. He has been hailed by Dubstep.NET as the “King of orchestral dubstep.” His track ‘New World Disorder’ was featured in the movie Elysium. Today, his new album entitled Electronic Symphony dropped on Beatport courtesy of Heavy Artillery Recs. The 12-track album is aptly named as it showcases Arkasia’s many instrumental and compositional talents.
His musical calling came at the tender age of five when he mastered the violin, and continued well into his teens, where he was composing mini-operas by the age of 12. Since, he has played in both orchestras and metal bands. Haywyre, who has been studying piano since the age of six, is the only other producer that immediately comes to mind at the mention of such intense musical prowess.
Past albums such as New Born, Evolution, and Phoenix seem to have been only precursors to Electronic Symphony. It features elements of metal, dubstep, and drum ‘n’ bass while maintaining a generally uplifting and cinematic feel to it, not an easy feat. Arkasia aspires to compose for film, videogame and other multi-media visual/interactive sound design projects, and the sound design in the album fits in nicely with that motif. Every track feels like it has its own story, something similarly difficult to achieve in EDM.
Tracks ‘Gravity’ and ‘Away From Extinction’ feature an authentic and characteristic Arkasia sound, with deep, thundering bass, uplifting arpeggiated lead synths, and monster drum design. His music is less about rises and drops and more about the journey of listening to a track and being completely enveloped in the story it holds within. There is so much more to his music than meets the eye that can only be uncovered after multiple listens. To write this review, I must have listened to it 4 or 5 times in succession, a couple with headphones though most without.
On the other end of the spectrum, ‘Digital Spirit’ makes use of Arkasia’s time as part of a metal band. Featured vocalists Justin Lassen & Chadington Von Lichtenstein lend a certain degree of anger and genuineness to the production. Highly modulated, carefully crafted guitar riffs are laid over the dark bassline and thundering drums as the screaming begins. Certainly, the combination of Lassen and Von Lichtenstein’s voices in the track create an interesting dynamic when juxtaposed with the rest of the album. On the flip side of the other end of the spectrum, ‘Endless’ is… well, I’m not exactly sure. Pounding synths and dangerously hard kicks pump through the track like bolts of electricity. As it finds its inevitable rhythm, it gradually morphs into more industrial sounds and becomes less of a song and more of an example of a factory malfunction in sound.
Throughout the album, tracks like ‘Gate 74’ and ‘Over The Clouds’ serve as buffers between the more high energy tracks and highlight Arkasia’s immense orchestral abilities. Meanwhile, tracks like ‘The Skull Cave’ remind us why Arkasia should be lauded as much as possible. His signature sound is so unmistakable that it’s likely to leave a bookmark in your mind for the next time you should happen upon one of his old tracks.
Please support Arkasia on Beatport and preview the album below. I can tell you firsthand, the preview does not come close to doing the album justice.