Glasgow-based electronic producer Tom Livingston has been releasing tracks under the alias Arctor since 2015, but to date he’s been fairly economical on the release front, with this latest EP ‘Soulless’ on Tremors offering up just his second vinyl release. On the basis of the three new tracks collected here though, he’s certainly exchanged quantity for quality.
On the A-side of this 12”, title track ‘Soulless’ kicks things off in tough electro territory that carries more than a hint of dark EBM as distorted robotic vocals and tumbling electronic sequences roll against harsh crashing snares and eerie atmospheric drones, though by the track’s second half the shades of futuristic soul have well and truly closed in as noodling synths take things off in a more airy direction.
If the aforementioned track nods towards Anthony Rother’s Euro-tinged robotics, ‘Kuleshov Effect’ gets more stripped down and glittery as crisp handclaps ripple against bright analogue synths and burbling arpeggios, and in this case it’s the meticulous filtering of the hi-hats that really brings out the sparkling metallic surfaces as the track rolls with a seemingly airless lack of friction.
On the flipside, it’s the aptly titled ‘Odyssey’ that arguably provides this EP’s centrepiece, changing the pace up a few notches with an 11 minute long wander through stomping electro-house rhythms, female vocal samples and juddering bass arpeggiation that carries more than a hint of Giorgio Moroder, particularly as jagged glints of New Wave guitar start to peek out of the mix alongside the looped soul diva vocals. While it’s certainly solid dancefloor fuel, it doesn’t quite match the previous two tracks in terms of dark-hued grit. Well worth investigation.