A narrative of an imagined alien colony existing between the fabric of known / unknown worlds, Thug Entrancer’sArcology explores high tech / low life society, mechanical structures, and data-driven humanity.
Though Arcology was conceived in a similar improvisational womb as Ryan McRyhew’s debut, the new album moves subtly from the free-form footworkouts of Death After Life with an expanded palette vibrating brightly with melodic deployment.
“Curaga” and “Exo-Memory” triumph over established 303 / 808 interplay with uplifting melodies – ear-worms from outer space; “Bronze” pumps dub-tectonics within a minimalist reduction of Death After Life’s modus operandi. Lighter than most of McRyhew’s output, album interludes “Low-Life”, “VR-Urge” and the finale, “Xeno”, beam satellite ballads through alien atmospheres.
McRyhew did not sculpt Arcology’s universe alone. Oliver Chapoy (Certain Creatures, Black Rain) worked on the final mixes to elevate Arcology’s mix out of the isolation inherent to the home recording processes. Another crucial partner in creating the Arcology universe is Milton Melvin Croissant III.
MMCIII designed Arcology’s artwork, live visuals and forthcoming video pieces, the offspring of an expansive collaboration and a lifelong friendship between the two Coloradans. At the outset of recording, McRyhew and MMCIII spoke at length on the theme of world building:
“What interests us the most in science fiction, or what we find makes the genre successful, is the ability to construct a new universe, culture, and environment,” notes Croissant III. “World-building is something we strive for individually in each of our creative practices. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to use the music of Arcology as a framework to create a universe.”
“The album title stems from the idea of a structure or object that is entirely self-sufficient and life-generating with little to no outside influence,” notes McRyhew. Disrupting this notion by said collaborations, McRyhew, “…was aware that the record was created in isolation… but I really wanted Arcology to have a universal reach.”
Thug Entrancer’s new odyssey expands on DAL’s themes of isolation and displacement by envisioning how similar emotions would play out in a fantastical environment. Arcology scores a VR addict’s routine or a sleepless night in a still-suit, a suite of anthems for the sci-fi lover and dystopian dreamer.