|Reviews & Recommendations
- Peter Bjärgö: all music, programming, vocals, instruments
- Ann-Mari Thim: Lead female vocals
- Stefan Eriksson: Choir, keyboard and additional instrument
- Ia Bjärgö: Additional Female Vocals
- Mattias Borgh: Percussions
"[Arcana] was based on the ideas that had been haunting me for a very long time, the ideas of creating medieval inspired music, or perhaps I should say based on the romantic image we all have on the middle ages, and doing that through a very personal point of view... I did soon realize that I needed a female companion that could bring a lead singing. I contacted Ida Bengtsson to tell her about my ideas and visions, she loved it and Arcana became complete. I now currently work with Stefan Eriksson and Ann-Marie Thim."
-- Peter Bjärgö, Arcana
"... Arcana ploughs the romantic/ethereal fringe of darkwave whilst never sliding into sentimentality. The combination of sadness and grandeur results in a compelling gravitas and even a sense of the sacred - a deep and beautiful experience to relieve the ennui of hyper-modernity."
-- RIK, fluxeuropa.com, 1/03
1996: Dark Age of Reason
"... Comparisons to Dead Can Dance will be made, and they are inevitable and justified, with Arcana's approach to intrumentation and compositions nearly identical to something like De Profundis off of Dead Can Dance's 'Spleen and Ideal'. (...) woefully baroque wood winds, gently plucked strings, flowing violin orchestrations, beautiful piano melodies, and of course, the heavenly blending of baritone and soprano vocals courtesy of Peter Petterson and the beautiful Ida Bengtsson. Yes, it's all been done before in some form or another, but who am I to chastise the band for doing it this damn good?"
-- Jason Mantis, Audio Drudge, Issue. 7
1997: Cantar De Procella
"The Song of Mourning introduced their neoclassical, symphonic, gothic music that on 'Dark Ages Of Reason' reached sublime heights.' Cantar De Procella' and the single Lizabeth perfected the method, bringing more light to the tenebrae."
-- piero scaruffi, scaruffi.com
½ 2000: The Last Embrace
"...dark and somber and gloomy instrumentals, recorded in such an echoey space that it sounds like it's in a cathedral, punctuated by deep, Gregorian chant-like vocals that are so intense I can barely pay attention to the lyrics, the sound of the voices are so appealing. This type of music has the tendency to totter dangerously on the precipice of becoming corny Renaissance Festival soundtrack material, but this particular disc never even touches that line. The instrumentation--pianos, organs, horns, bells, etc., probably all synth but very genuine sounding--are arranged and performed beautifully; there is such control in this music that even the silences sound like orchestration."
-- Holly Day, preamp.com, 5/01
½ 2003: Inner Pale Sun
"The choral-percussive My Cold Sea provides a grand opening, dark and romantic. Lovelorn and Innocent Child are very Brendan Perry. The latter song has a particularly beautiful, sad melody, whilst in Icons the choral and instrumental melody is almost reduced to a background supporting evocative chimes and beats. The Wakefordian-entitled We Rise Above is carried by a very compulsive dulcimer- sounding riff. Song Of The Dead Sun is a filmic instrumental. Typical of Pettersson's music, Season Of Thought, another piece of orchestral grandeur, cleverly oscillates between sadness and optimism, while maintaining a background broodiness, all of which seems to contrast the doom of mortals with the galactic continuum - or what some people understand as 'God'. Finally, Closure, a relaxed piano and choral finale, provides a feeling of celestial resolution. "
-- RIK, fluxeuropa.com, 1/03
2003: The New Light
"10 year anniversary release from symphonic-ambient artist Arcana. Spanning his entire career Peter Bjargo has collected together lost songs from the early years, alternative recordings and new beautiful pieces of music. 'The New Light' displays the evolving talent behind Arcana - absolutely beautiful symphonic ambient music full of grandiose sweeps and emotional melancholy. Packaged in deluxe special 'tall' digipak."
2005: Le Serpent Rouge
"In my estimation, Arcana is the only worthy successor to Dead Can Dance. Both groups create music that draws on older traditions, yet seems otherworldly; both utilize the sounds of forgotten instruments and evocative male and female vocals. If this comparison holds true, then 'Le Serpent Rouge' is certainly Arcana's answer to the 'Serpent's Egg': on this album Arcana have made a move away from the neo-classical Dark Ages to a sound more informed by the music of the Middle East. Exotic rhythms pound and jangle while ominous synths simmer in the background. Of course, Arcana is not simply a poor man's Dead Can Dance; the group has always been more inclined to craft soundscapes than songs and the vocals rarely take center stage. The atmosphere of Arcana's recordings has always been a bit cold and distant, almost as if they defy you to glimpse into their world. 'Le Serpent Rouge' may not be inviting, but it is stoically beautiful."
-- Jack Shear, Liar Society, 7/05
¾ 2008: Raspail
Tracklisting: 01. Abrakt 02. Sight Of Relief 03. Invisible Motions 04. Outside Your World 05. Parisal 06. Autumnal 07. Out Of The Gray Ashes 08. Lost In Time 09. In Remembrance 10. Circumspection
"Heralds of angels mark the arrival of Abrakt. Moody synths swell. Peter Bjärgö channels the presence of Brendan Perry, while spooky monks go 'ahh' in the background. This is Arcana at their atmospheric best, taking inspiration from Dead Can Dance's finest moment 'Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun'. (...) Abrakt is the 'traditional' Arcana sound, perhaps to reassure fans who were confused by the experimentation of the band's last album 'Le Serpent Rouge'. Sigh of Relief is a fragment of piano-led ambience. It's reminiscent of the more tuneful offerings from Arcana's old label Cold Meat Industry. It offers a respite from the giant artifices of noise on offer elsewhere, creating a sense of unease in the listener. It doesn't go anywhere, but with its brevity it doesn't need to. Invisible Motions sounds as big as the opening scene of Star Wars, when the Imperial Star Destroyer overtakes Princess Leia's much smaller ship. This time the female vocals take centre stage. Real words are used, rather than Gerrard-esque transcendent wailing. Arcana conjure dark images. This song alone mentions nothingness, anger, pain, wrath, loneliness, anxiousness and anger, yet there is beauty in the darkness. (...) Autumnal features a mix of piano, synths and whispered female vocals for the first few minutes. Then as the song develops the higher-pitched female singing is introduced. This track is full of unrelieved tension. The sounds struggle for a release that comes only in the form of drums that sound like gunshots in the distance. This song has the mood of Fields of the Nephilim's Requiem XIII-33 (Le Veilleur Silencieux). Guitars are usually few and far between in Arcana's music, so Out of the Gray Ashes makes a nice change, with its construction around just such an instrument. (...) Lost In Time is a highlight of the album. If Arcana were a band that dealt in such things then this would be the single. It has already appeared on Kalinkaland compilation 'Lightwave II', which is why it sounds so familiar to me. There's a grandeur and sense of scale to this song. The song is in no hurry to get anywhere, but the hypnotic swirling synth sounds will stay in your head when the song has finished. Ethnic instruments clatter over the top making this song a beguiling mix of old and new.
-- Stuart Moses, hard-wired.org.uk, 02/08
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