Conveying an inner-life in the scale of outer-space Arjen Schat offers another superbly imagined installment in his continuing exploration of Electronic Music, and that which lies beyond our planet's celestial sphere. The Extragalactic Sessions Part 4 (57'24") is utterly enchanting. Technically flawless, yet more than a mere engineering exercise - emotionally charged, but both exact and expansive, it is an intricate construction of extra-terrestrial intrigue. This brilliant, quietly tumultuous work permits the music to unfold in a myriad of ways. Slow and inward, then tense and complex, The Extragalactic Sessions Part 4 traverses enigmatic distances along a cosmically charged spaceway. Throughout his five tracks Schat has never sounded more confident and in command of detail and scene-setting. Sequencer patterns, expanding and receding, meandering then driving, running headlong to distant stars, are adorned and warmed by slow lead melodies. As muted string harmonies ride cresting sequencer patterns a precisely tooled and tuned wonderment calls to us from the outer reaches. Here, stretching out as synth-smith we find Arjen Schat enjoying the special sense of discovery that comes to the well-traveled. There is no one right way to think about this music. Interpretations are as diverse as the audience, and range from an admiration of the minimalistic precision of pulsing patterns and phasing forms, to engaging with an expressive machine beauty - or slipping simply into a poetic electric galaxy dream of vastness. After four volumes, listeners should be able to identify the artistry involved in something this difficult to create - and feel aglow from their repeated encounters.
Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END - 23 February 2023