Bluetech | Liquid Geometries | DiN57
Evan Bartholomew has been performing electronic music for nearly 20 years as Bluetech, Evan Marc, Invisible Allies (with Kilowatts), and is one of the founders of MicrodoseVR, with Android Jones and the Vision Agency team. He is an internationally recognised touring music producer with over 27 album/EP releases in the last 15+ years, and has a seasoned portfolio of video game and film/tv scoring credits. Bluetech is a master of analogue and modular sound synthesis and DSP audio manipulation, and brings a passion for sound design and cutting edge audio exploration into all the work he touches. His music transcends the constructs normally associated with a calculated “electronic artist,” pursuing music with meaning and purpose in various styles like ambient and downtempo, future bass, and techno.
“Liquid Geometries” sees him exploring shifting, fractal landscapes of melodic, sequenced lines using a huge range of analogue modular synthesisers. With a distinct nod to the Berlin School masters of the past he upgrades that musical heritage with nine shimmering soundscapes utilising modern production techniques to create beautiful tapestries of sound. These benefit from repeated, deep listening as there are so many details and interlaced patterns that will reveal themselves over time. Evan also invited DiN label boss Ian Boddy to perform using his distinctive Ondes Martenot analogue synth keyboard on the track “Tranquility Gate”. Evan has also got a track, “Magnetic Lullaby”, on the DiN sub-label compilation Tone Science Module No.2 Elements and Particles (DiN:TS02).
Once again the distinctive DiN label is pushing the boundaries of it’s established catalogue with a new addition to it’s roster of fine, internationally acclaimed electronic artists.
Various Artists | Tone Science Module No.2 Elements and Particles | DiN:TS02
This second compilation “Module No.2 Elements and Particles”, like its predecessor, features nine artists from different musical backgrounds with the common thread being that all the tracks were composed entirely with a modular synth system.
The album opens and closes with the ambient soundscapes of two tracks by Todd Barton and r beny. Barton is a world renowned exponent of Buchla modular systems as well as the Music Easel employed on this track. Austin Cairns (aka r beny) has a penchant for lo-fi looped synth atmospheres which combined, in this case, with a field recording creates a haunting, evocative piece. The next three pieces by Bluetech, Parallel Worlds and Paul Nagle build up rhythmic and sequenced elements with a fascinating amount of detail that modular systems are so good at. They also all use various methods to produce a poly-rhythmic, fractal feel as patterns shift and change throughout their tracks. The middle of the album then sees a fascinating experimental ambient interlude by Dave Bessell (a member of the synth group Node) using waveguide physical modelling in the analogue domain. The second half of the album has a rawer, more gritty feel with Richard Quirk building up a crescendo of wonderful textures in his track “Radar Hill”. This is followed by Hainbach using the exotic Ciat-Lonbarde series of hand built instruments to produce, in his words, a piece of “pure electronic music”. Nathan Moody then brings proceedings to a climax with a gnarly, muscular track using a Buchla modular system before the blissful ending piece “Marine Layer” closes out the 60 minute sonic journey the listener has just travelled.
Boddy has curated both the artists and tracks on this album to flow in a musical way and not just be a collection of equipment heavy demos. Though fascinating and always cool to look at, it is important not to get lost in the gear for gear’s sake syndrome. Having said that this album features Eurorack, Serge, Buchla & Ciat-Lonbarde modular systems and the nine tracks show how varied and flexible these instruments can be.
“Tone Science Module No.2 Elements and Particles” continues the journey down the rabbit hole of possibilities and sound worlds inhabited by artists and musicians working in this ever fascinating and varied musical field.
Parallel Worlds & Dave Bessell | Dystopia | DiN56
The names of both Parallel Worlds and Dave Bessell should be very familiar by now to followers of the DiN ambient electronica label. Bakis Sirros (aka Parallel Worlds) has two solo albums, Obsessive Surrealism (DiN26), Shade (DiN32) as well as collaborations with DiN label boss Ian Boddy on Exit Strategy (DiN37) and most recently World Adapter (DiN48) with Self Oscillate (Ingo Zobel). Bessell on the other hand has a single solo album Black Horses Of The Sun (DiN47) as well as his contributions to the two synth supergroup Node releases (Node 2 (DiN44) & Node Live (DiN55)). Of course the duo have already collaborated before on their 2012 album, “Morphogenic” (DiN41) and “Dystopia” sees these two musicians continue their sonic dialogue.
Track titles such as “Cipher”, “Mutagen” and “Devoid” as well as the album title leaves one in no doubt that you are entering a dark and foreboding sound world. Indeed Bessell quotes the infamous novel “Neuromancer” by William Gibson as a major influence. Bakis Sirros as ever weaves his intricate modular rhythms that seem to squirm and writhe underneath vast slabs of analogue chords that rise and fall like cities. Indeed the album is very dynamic with complex, almost classical arrangements that constantly shift under ones feet. Amongst this Bessell introduces some fleeting guitar work as well as his adventurous analogue physical modelling sound design. Seeming to inhabit a netherworld between dark electronica and progressive synth these two musicians have once again created an album that just doesn’t sound like anyone else out there. Join them for a unique sonic adventure.
Ian Boddy | The Climb | DiNDDL21
After Boddy released three cassette albums in the early 1980’s on the Mirage label “The Climb” came out on vinyl in 1983 on Signal Records. This was a huge leap both musically and technologically for Boddy and is rightly regarded as a classic of the early UK electronic music scene. The music was composed and recorded at Spectro Arts Workshop in Newcastle between December 1982 – March 1983 except for the opening track “Kinetics” which was produced as part of Boddy’s stint as composer in residence at the Triangle Arts Centre in Birmingham. Whilst there he also had access to the Fairlight C.M.I. which Boddy employed on the opening three sections of the title track. This tone poem is split into five sections and still stands up as one of Boddy’s most iconic compositions with the music ranging from the eerie opening of “Dawn”, the grinding toil of “Procession” followed by the majestic “Hymn”. The heavily sequenced “Ascent” in 7/8 time ramps up the excitement before the blissful “Summit” rounds off the suite.
The album quickly sold out and was then remastered and reissued on CD on Boddy’s Something Else Records label in 1993 with the addition of a bonus track Déjà Vu (Part 3). This edition also sold out and other than a limited run on CDr this classic album has been out of print for many years. Since then Boddy has set up his successful DiN label and whilst he has moved on musically it is important not to forget his past. Thus Boddy intends to reissue each of his early albums on the DiNDDL download sub-label of DiN to give new listeners access to the full CD quality audio with as much of the original artwork as possible.
Various | Submission 02 | DiNDDL20
DiNDDL releases are digital only albums that are being presented alongside the physical CD releases of the parent DiN label. As such DiNDDL is following the path set by it’s parent label in that every tenth release will be a sampler compilation album showcasing the previous nine albums. Thus Submission 02 is the second such sampler release and features one track (or in some cases an edit) from each of the DiNDDL11 – 19 titles. Artists featured on this compilation are Ian Boddy, Lyonel Bauchet, Erik Wøllo, ARC & Markus Reuter. Five of the tracks are taken from concerts performed by a selection of these artists.
By releasing music on the DiNDDL sub-label it is possible for DiN to continue to present a wider range of electronic music titles that supplement and compliment it’s core label physical releases.
Node | Node Live | DiN55
Synth supergroup Node don’t do things by halves so when they decided to perform an all to rare concert in London in 2015 they chose non other than the auspicious venue of the Royal College of Music. It’s almost certain that those hallowed halls have not seen such an assemblage of vintage and modular gear before, although indeed that could be said of anywhere else one can care to imagine.
The four members of Node, maverick producer and sonic legend Flood, renowned producer and composer Ed Buller, classically trained Doctor of music Dave Bessell and Hollywood film composer Mel Wesson not only have between them a vast arsenal of synth gear to draw upon but they also know how to use it in a live performance. Indeed this is no mean task as without the safety net of a backing track all those myriad knobs, dials and switches have to be manually tuned and set up, a task that took the intrepid quartet plus their road crew several hours to complete.
Why bother one may ask in this world of computers and plug ins? Well simply because they can! This is a performance, a unique event never to be repeated. It’s a show where the physical presence of all that ancient, creaking analogue equipment is as much part of the performance as the music itself. And of course there’s the sound these instruments make, a huge pulsating wall of analogue warmth that can rise from a delicate whisper to a mind numbing crescendo of noise at the whim of the performers.
“Node Live” includes edits of four tracks from the concert as well as a bonus piece recorded at the groups rehearsal for the event. Released as a limited edition run of 2,000 copies in a beautiful fold out digipak featuring a stunning widescreen live group photo spread across the front and a photographic booklet enclosed this is a must for lovers of Berlin School inspired sequencer music.
Ian Boddy Patreon Page
I’ve started a Patreon Page to engage more closely with followers of my music. If you’re not familiar with Patreon it’s sort of like a subscriber account but on a more personal level. I’ve got a huge archive of rare & unreleased music as well as studio & modular experiments that I want to share with you via this page. There are 3 levels of subscription:
Channel 1 @ $1 per month. This basic level gets you access to my Patreon page so you can see what’s going on.
Channel 2 @ $5 per month. Each month I will post a minimum of 30 minutes of rare, archive or unreleased music for you to enjoy.
Channel 3 @ $10 per month. Access to all the music posted for Channel 2 subscribers plus a minimum of a further 30 minutes of studio & modular synth experiments & bonus material.
November was the first month & kicked off with the first set of my inaugural performance at the Gatherings in Philadelphia back in 2000. Although some of this concert was released as the album Shrouded it has never been released in it’s entirety. I’ve remastered the audio & the second set plus encore is going to be made available in December. There was also a further 4 tracks online for Channel 3 subscribers.
Please have a look & consider subscribing to what I hope will be a new & unique way to engage with my music.