Arc II: The Remains

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Words and Image by Billie Jenkins

Last week a package from Paris arrived through my letterbox, the envelope signed with “Thank You, YMV-R”. I’d been waiting for this morning. Tearing away the sellotape seal I pulled out its contents, a bubble wrapped cassette tape, the latest release from Hip Hop artist Tay Devenny. Arc II: The Remains is very different from Arc I, or Shrine, the incredible album he dropped earlier this year. Where drifting sounds, and subtle rasps of self reflection were, there is a more forceful voice set to a more disjointed background. The samples are angrier, with violent implications punctuating the listening experience. Previous albums were something you could float through, struck at intervals by the thoughtfulness of calm lyrics, like a contemplative cigarette late at night. This mans poetry is angrier, more frustrated, speaking from a darker place; as a vocalist he sounds deeper, colder. Lyrics such as ’Could it be this, my own abyss’ are self-deprecating in a way we haven’t seen before.

We spoke to Tay about this tangible change in perspective, and he told us “Arc II follows on the use of the arc being a vessel. A vessel that takes people to different aspects on land. So Arc: I was tale of the arc and Arc II was the destruction of the arc. And the wasteland narrative was a metaphor for that. Shrine ties in because that was the first voyage but it was only one that was needed to be taken.” Aside from the significant change in voice, it’s the samples that alter the experience of this new release. Those clunky tape turnovers tear through any sense of ease that comes as we adjust to a rhythm or narrative. After the opening song there is the sound of a woman in the grips of abuse, a nod to the past journeys made through the arc, and giving a sense of the frustrations of this new space. As Tay says ’I mention in a song I’m all alone’ yet ’there was someone with me at the start’. If Tay’s journey on the arc continues, we’ll be listening with avid ears.

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