Rudi Arapahoe: Echoes From One To Another
Symbolic Interaction

Listening to this ravishing fifty-minute collection, two questions repeatedly come to mind: Who is Rudi Arapahoe and where did his gorgeous Echoes From One To Another come from? It's like nothing else in the Symbolic Interaction catalogue, and like very little else in general for that matter. We can report that Arapahoe is a “sound artist working from Helix Branch studios,” that he is the album's sound designer and conceptual driving force, and contributes field recordings and antique electronics to the album (augmented by a small number of guests credited with keyboards, vocals, guitar, harp, and strings).

With the exception of a photo on the disc itself that suggests a reclining female vampire, ghostly apparitions dominate Echoes From One To Another's presentation, and the visual approach complements the material's equally haunted and crepuscular sound. The album plays out like an episodic dreamscape where speaking voices, phantom whispers, incantatory singing, delicate piano and string melodies, and field sounds (forest rustles, waves breaking) alternately appear. The material's elegiac tone is clearly conveyed by titles like “Last Words Unspoken” and “My Shadow (Vanishes),” and its “narrative” thread is crystallized by a poem that's recited in the second song: “In a dream I am standing / At the entrance to a forest / Here there are constructed / Numberless arches that radiate light. / When I pass through them at night / My body floats gently into the air. / At this precise moment / When I am on the cusp of sleep / My shadow vanishes / And with it my weight.”

Graceful cascades of harp melodies set the tone in “I Close My Eyes and Float to the Ceiling,” after which follows an elegy filled with supplicating voices and weeping strings (“To Gather Flowers”), an ethereal and enveloping soundscape (“Forest Of Arches”), and a gentle piano etude (“Lunar Semaphore”). “Echoes from One to Another” leads a singer's haunting voice and a violin's cry through a pebble-strewn landscape, while two sopranos sing in entrancing counterpoint over a quietly insistent dance pulse in “Conversation Piece”; in “Pleroma,” the singer's stirring melody even carries with it a whiff of Holy Minimalism. A poetic fusion of classical and electronic musics, Echoes From One To Another sounds like what might result were Akira Rabelais, Arvo Pärt, and The Balustrade Ensemble to spend a month collaborating at a studio in some ancient and secluded castle.

July 2008