Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blood Sport 2092: A Battlefield Of The Future As Told By Arc Neon

The build up to this new release from Arc Neon seems to have been going on for an immeasurable amount of time. The teasers and previews have worked brilliantly to make my interest rise to fever pitch levels in anticipation. Bloodsport 2092 has finally arrived and it's certainly been worth the wait. The most intriguing aspect of this release, from my perspective, was going to be the story Arc Neon was going to weave into this thematic of future-death-sports.

I'd absolutely loved what they did with their Night Heat: Original Soundtrack release (reviewed previously on Synthetix.FM here) in regards to the way the narrative drove the music, and it pleases me greatly that Bloodsport 2092 continues this deep, scenario-based experience.

Blood Sport 2092 is heavily influenced by classic cinema such as Deathsport and The Running Man with a futuristic backdrop hiding a gladiatorial competition that is used by the powers that be to wield power over the masses. The stench of corruption mixes with the spilled blood while the anguish of a lone individual is drowned out by the screams of the clamouring audience. 'Welcome To Blood Sport 2092'.

In one of my favourite introductions this year the scene is set to perfection and when the lead melody drops I can see the flash steel and mortal sacrifice before my very eyes. The Arc Neon sound has definitely taken on some new sheen in this release as tones are noticeably more polished and contain a dynamic energy the conveys the action of the subject matter with aplomb. This opening piece sets up an epic stage of good versus evil and the loss of humanity with lightning fast stabbing synthplay and a crucial ferocity, painting a visceral soundscape in angered colours.

The desolation and cruelty is set aside in the second act as a much brighter and positive atmosphere takes us from the battlefield to the training montage. 'The Faster You Move, The Longer You Live' is the perfect uplifting and revitalising soundtrack to restore faith and personal belief before the inevitability of combat arrives. The melodies are rich and vibrant, full of inspirational flourishes and an air of victory beckoning against insurmountable odds. This track would end with a wink and a thumbs up if that was musically possible.

Taking the challenge to the violence of Blood Sport itself is next chapter 'Rapely's Revenge'. This powerfully forged composition has a deliberate nature to it that marches into the face of adversity with the hearts of millions behind the force of one. A double cross in the fields of desolation finds a battle of good versus evil that spans eons and destinies. The eternal struggle becomes embroiled in a race against time with synths slicing through the air and drums shaking the earth with quake force resonance.

From small glimpses of a different future the heroes begin the destruction of the corporation responsible for the deaths of many in the Blood Sport arenas. Jubilant synth melodies ascend to righteous aspirations with glorious timbre and a single minded focus for justice. The energy is combustible and invigorating while the curtains of deceit are torn asunder, exposing the illicit corruption all the way to the top. The Blood Sport era has ended and the souls lost to this violent chapter of the future's history shall be revered.

This reverence is crystallised in the aptly titled 'Remembering Past Winners' which is a hugely climactic experience. I feel like the entire story builds to this chapter and all the previous tracks are there to provide the context for this incredible piece. Melodically rich in emotionally powerful refrains, the manner in which this track is arranged and layered is majestic to behold and beyond legendary in scale.

The final chapter of the story is the beautifully rendered reminiscence 'Vathek (2085's Champion)'. A return to glory after the ultimate sacrifice, a torch lit for the past that flickers with a hope of a better tomorrow. Poignantly constructed with an air of melancholy, synths are respectful and harmonious with an elegance that finishes the Blood Sport saga beautifully.

Included in this release is a re-envisioning of Remembering Past Heroes by Alpha Boy who has spun a spell of retro alchemy over the track to give a thoroughly worn out and analogue tape recording appearance. This is adds a delightful element of vintage intrigue to the performance as it does indeed sound like it was recorded on poor quality tape and subject to thirty years of mistreatment, sounding like the only existing document of a time past forgotten by the present.

Arc Neon have really made the perfect soundtrack to the subject matter they've explored in Blood Sport 2092. The pieces here are arranged and performed with a strong narrative that ties the elements into one complete experience. The music is full of quality 80s elements, but is rarely in the genre of Soundtrack Synth. Instead these pieces describe emotions and actions with aural energies more befitting of the context and move from dramatic Synth Wave into fast paced OutRun; sometimes through darker territory along the way. This release feels very complete and constructed with an eye (or ear in this case) for detail and I am very pleased that the wait for this most definitely paid off.

Arc Neon presents Blood Sport 2092 on their Bandcamp page here, it is also available in strict amounts as a limited edition cassette but these won't last long. Synthetix.FM wholeheartedly recommends the Blood Sport 2092 experience as from beginning to end the magic Arc Neon imparts into each track creates an aural motion picture experience full of action, excitement and triumphant human spirit.

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