Photographer: Marina Minibaeva.
Cory Arcane, French experimental techno producer David Letellier's fifth full-length under the name Kangding Ray, is conceptually focused around its titular character, a technology-obsessed ballet dancer going through an existential crisis and trying to find her place in a corrupt, crumbling city. The album embraces contradictions and chaos, switching modes between the industrial cityscape of "Acto" and the rapid, skittering beats of "Dark Barker" and "Safran." Cory Arcane isn't quite as club-centric as its similarly eclectic predecessor, 2014's excellent Solens Arc, but it still contains energetic dancefloor burners such as "These Are My Rivers" and "On Sleepless Roads." Lacking some of the previous album's gritty distortion, Cory Arcane feels more refined and certainly less "glitch" than Kangding Ray's previous releases. More attention is given to space, and the noise elements are honed and more nuanced, particularly on swarming tracks like "Bleu Oscillant" and "When We Were Queens." Even more so than Automne Fold (2008) and OR (2011), both of which included sung and spoken lyrics, Cory Arcane is one of the most accessible entry points into Kangding Ray's uniformly incredible discography. ~ Paul Simpson