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Let the Boss do it!

img  Tobias

In 2002, Frederic Arbour had a problem: He was composing and producing some music that thrilled both him and his good friend, photographer Yvan Arsenault, as well as a lot of mutual friends. But there simply seemed to be no label out there interested in releasing it. So, Frederic (who was using the Instinct-pseudonym at the time) decided to form his own outfit - and Cyclic Law was born.

In a short time, the company has turned into one of the world's dominant forces in Dark Ambient, a music that could be described as a "Hellraiser"-simulation - putting you in wide open spaces, allowing you to contact black, ethereal forces and detaching the mind from music's regular constants and structures. If some of you might now be wondering, why anybody would want to do that: You're not alone! In fact, the scene is, albeit growing, still tiny even when compared to experimental electronic's other subgenres. Arbour was right about two things, though: If he could pull off an international distribution using the Internet, he would always be able to amass enough fans for his releases to sell. And secondly, that Dark Ambient-friends loved great packaging.

So, when the first Cyclic Law release came out as a wonderful box with black and white photos and Arbour's haunting soundtrack, it hit the scene like a bomb. Back then, the music was still pretty accessible, with strummed guitars and subtle melodies. Over the course of the last three years, Cyclic Law has grown and grown (with its catalogue reaching a staggering thirteen CDs just a short while ago) and become bleaker with each one. New artists like Kammarheit and Svartsinn have pushed the genre's boundaries into territories never thought possible - there are hardly any projects out there that have reached a similar atmospheric density and compositional flow. The achievement of Cylic Law has been to transform a music that was obscure and bewildering into a form of art in its own right.

As time progressed, Arbour's own interests have changed as well and with his label's 14th "cycle", it is finally his turn again to get behind the wheel. The new direction quickly becomes clear: With Visions, now the name of choice for his solo work, as all acoustic instruments have disappeared from the line-up. Instead, thick layers of sounds hover above ethereal and slowly drifting drones. There's also some vocal samples, which only adds to the unreal ambiance. "Lapse" has already been described as the best Cyclic Law release as yet and is set to boost Arbour's own career as well.

With things going so well, maybe we can look forward to the Cyclic Lac crew hitting mainland Europe soon. A first small-scale festival in Finland seems to have been a great success. And possibly, one day, Arbour can quit his dayjob as a bartender and dedicate his life entirely to music.

Homepage: Cyclic Law

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