Arkanar “Les Cris de Mélusine”

I don’t think I fully understand what “dungeon synth” means because seeing this new tape from Arkanar housed under the label threw me off. This gem dreams in vivid colors, fueled by simple structures and candied earworms for days. To me, this is woozy instrumental pop music that’s been filtered through a chasm hidden deep inside an enchanted forest. Faint mysticism floats across the synthetic flickers, guiding lost spirits back home.

Wobbly pads bump along on “Le Lien Vassalique,” blitzed by stomping percussion and a skyward shimmer. There’s a fantastic dichotomy between the gauzy music and driving beat that, at first, seems just off, but once the leads come searing in, everything pulls together. It’s excellent. That same temporarily disjointed feeling returns on the stellar “Comme un saut,” this time with a slow-moving, effervescent synth lead drifting over swift arpeggios and beats. Temporally kaleidoscopic, the song soars over the rainbow to continue the search for any strays that need to be shown the way. 

So much of Les Cries de Mélusine digs into familiar melodies that have a tinge of nostalgia to them without being an exact copy. Arkanar captures the feeling of young summer days where everything felt possible and it was like the moment would never end. On closer “On y va, on verra,” we’re holding hands, racing down grass-lined streets, drenched with sweat as the bubbling rhythm softly pushes us along. It leaves me feeling warm, content, and realizing that it was me that was lost all along. Les Cris de Mélusine is a delight.

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