CD, Brume Records, 2003
“Arena” is the fourth release in five years by French author Giles Rossiere as Oil 10, after two releases on the Ant-Zen label. This was one of those albums acquired more or less at random, relying mostly on the label in which it was released (the French label Brume Records), and it was quite a pleasant surprise.
It begins as a something of a trance album, not pure trance but with marked trance influences: slower, more minimalistic than trance and somewhat more oppressive. Throughout the album, the sound evolves, incorporating elements from other sources (trance, techno, EBM and ambient as well as musical projects like Kraftwerk, Autechre and Pan Sonic come to mind) and shedding them back to be recovered as they are needed. Rossiere decomposes and re-structures all of them into a new whole, a novel and fluid hybrid musical structure.
“Arena” is a very elegant, interesting and intriguing hybrid of sonorities that gives away a sense of almost timelessness and grandiosity. It is an almost hypnotic album, in which two (apparently opposite) forces are at work: the beats induce the listener to motion while the melodies induce contemplation. In the end, they have a synergetic approach as one helps the other.
Ultimately, “Arena” is an excellent album whose style is hard to describe or pigeon-hole. Even if it has definite dancefloor-friendly structures, it still remains a very ambient album and, in a sense, it may also be possible to consider it as music adequate to movie soundtracks. Call it ‘Intelligent Ambient Music’ and move your body to it anyway.
— Miguel de Sousa