Arachne - Maine: Review by Nenani Kris Nyalugwe & Interview by Millie Norman

Creeping and crawling its way through my JBLs and into my ears is the improv EP project 'Arachne' by Maine. After my first music review for !GWAK Magazine – ENGINE’s fantastic alternative single Solitary Moods – I knew to expect the unexpected, but I did not, could not, have expected this.

Arachne 1.1, the first song of the 2-track EP, has mimetic sounds that would make an appropriate score for a scene featuring every earth-bound arachnid. Haunting, diaphanous layers of stringed instruments tell an eerily captivating tale that I liken to the escalating, silk-web-spinning art of a spiders’ hunt. And in a dramatic crescendo, the chase culminates in a chilling climax, just ripe for that jump scare.

Arachne 1.2, the second and final song in the EP, throws in the added terror of vocal expression through enigmatic howls. It’s a slow climb to euphoric horror; the discomfort of bliss; the spidery symphonic playout that ultimately leads to the death of your possible disregard of Maine.

Listening to this improv piece, which emanates the terror of life’s predator-prey cycle, I was inextricably reminded of the sounds and music compositions of the video game horror genre. And this nostalgic sensation was at the heart of my Arachne listening experience. It took me back to my high school days, when my siblings and I would huddle together on one of our beds at 11pm, always with the lights off, as Resident Evil’s indefatigable Claire Redfield skulked through the zombie-filled laboratories and mansions of some godforsaken area.

This EP project came in just in time for Halloween, one might as well play it – the EP, and hey, Resident Evil too - as they decorate their home with haunted horrors. And while Arachne is not one for the daily Easy Listening playlist, 'tis the season of scares my friends...


Maine shot by Reuben J Brown

MN: How did you guys meet/connect musically?

Maine: After finishing university, Alex and Callum channelled their existential angst into extensive jam sessions, relying on the majesty of the night and the ambience of their barn rehearsal space. Happy with the result of these sessions, Djenaba’s haunting strings helped elevate the music even more so, forming Maine. Musically, there seems to be a direct focus on finding the beauty in the dark.

MN: Could you tell us about the spider/arachnid references in your work?

Maine: Back in the Barn, we create amongst an audience of Spiders; they protect the Barn from insect intruders, it’s only fair that we honour them with our noise.

The Barn shot by Djenaba

MN: Arachne is a live improv piece - what was the process of recording like?

Maine: It was very unexpected and spontaneous - it was the first time we played together. Djenaba started making double bass loops. Callum and I (Alex) felt quite inspired so we started to set our gear up - frantically plugging stuff in and out (darn cables never work). I placed a mic in the room and hit record - and we dropped in, which catalysed the experience and made it noisier. It was super cathartic, and a good way to introduce ourselves to each other.

MN: Will recording live remain important to your practice?

Maine: We’d like to keep it going. Arachne was the first but not the last live improv. The room felt like it was gonna burst due to the sound pressure; it was a rather powerful experience. Improv recording at the Barn was great, as we didn't have to worry about time or volume levels, and also had loads of room to experiment and feel the piece out, which aligns with our perf style - weaving that sonic web.

The Barn shot by Djenaba

MN: Where do you draw your influences?

Maine: Deep down from the pits of our souls. When we are in the Barn nothing can come out or get in, under a trance of pure authenticity.

MN: Where do you want to take your music next?

Maine: The opposite direction.