The album sleeve depicts a synthesizer embedded in the soil of a seemingly deserted landscape. Does it depict the beginning or the end of an era, a point of arrival or a perhaps a monument to a relic from the past?
Faced with such questions, we once again find ourselves in the midst of the electronic archive and in the presence of Loren Nerell, a sound designer who once worked for the seminal US synth manufacturer Oberheim. Originally a super rare cassette release from 1986, Point of Arrival’s reissue places us very much in the territory of the concept album, and those familiar with the extended ambient workouts of Kraut pioneers such as Tangerine Dream will instantly feel at home.
Much has been made of the homogenisation of electronic music in the 1980’s with the increased availability of technology and the mass marketing of electronic equipment masking innovations taking place in digital synthesis and its evolving techniques. Whilst there is some truth to this, the reality for some of the unsung innovators like Nerell was undoubtedly different, and the rediscovery of excursions like this can only reinforce the idea of electronic experimentation as an evolving discourse, a language through which to express current visions of an emergent future and a way to talk about our relationship with the past.
Concluding side one’s suite, Growth is a fine example of this – a timeless piece which sounds most like a descendant of classic Kraut synthology. On side two (Waves of Time) the sample like voices and ‘natural’ sounds slowly morph into burning pads and machine basses, reminding us that the digital dreams of Detroit and the topography of new science fictions are always just a whisper away, both a point of arrival and a marker in the sand.