Bluetech – Spacehop Chronicles Vol. 1 EP [Review]
No matter how much I expose myself to the new advances in current electronic music, I consistently find myself returning to the Bluetech universe during times of observation and creativity. A designer, visual artist, classically trained pianist and technological master, Bluetech’s music is often referred to as downtempo, ambient, even PsyDM (psytelligent dance music) — but I would warn against making the mistake of pigeonholing Evan Marc Bartholomew. Creatively blending his influences and imagination into unique and original concoctions, Bartholomew has garnered an international following and the respect of many established musicians over the past 10 years.
Highly cognizant of the ebb and flow of the human condition, Bartholomew produces music that explores the ineffability of psychedelic consciousness and harmony of our corporeality. His simple key and time signature changes work their magic to profoundly alter your current state of being. If you let it in, Bluetech’s repertoire of meticulously designed auditory architecture will defy your expectations of modern electronic music.
Lushly textured, ethereal soundscapes go hand in hand with Bartholomew’s sincere dedication to creating open, encouraging dialogues about the power of all mediums of art to positively impact social consciousness. Bartholomew’s ventures include converting his Hawaiian studio entirely to solar power, and the founding of Critical Beats – a fundraising project in collaboration with numerous artists to save what is left of the Amazon rainforest. Bartholomew is deeply in touch with the importance of shaping self-expression into something that is beneficial for all living things – including his fans.
Committed to creating a connection with fans and listeners, Bartholomew ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund Spacehop Chronicles Vol. 1, the first of an evolving 5-EP series, which will also have a written component; with the ultimate goal of producing a graphic novel to tell the story of Laika and her otherworldly adventures.
On November 3, 1957, a Moscow street dog named Laika was launched into outer space and became the first living creature to orbit the Earth. She was never expected to survive the trip, and history tells us that she died within hours of takeoff.
Laika has a different story to tell…
Spacehop Chronicles Vol. I opens with “Laika’s” gentle, arpeggiated synths, invoking a pleasant image of the innocent K-9’s famous ascent into the cosmos. Bartholomew’s tremendous production capabilities are slowly revealed as the different harmonies, textures and layers coalesce into something beautifully melancholic and yet simultaneously optimistic. As the inspirational phrases mature, the track starts to slowly contract further and further into the atmosphere, like our dear Laika.
“Fold And Arrive” is the heaviest track on the EP, slowly teasing out a hypnotic and pulsating bassline. The amount of control Bluetech has over his sound is apparent. The intricately orchestrated layers of melody converge with an emerging polyrhythmic percussive element, producing a crunchy and victorious feel. Barely-audible whispers oscillate through the dense soundscape; it’s these small details that make the music of Bluetech special.
“Athena 13” glides in and out of Aphex Twin-esque melodies, curiously investigating feelings of disassociation. Distant arpeggios and broken radio transmissions fade and re-emerge through a dense soundscape. Bluetech knows how to make a soundtrack with no video – this music is extremely visual, invoking images of secretive, ominous outer space missions.
Flittering glitches and a dreamy melody drive “Skybox,” as Laika descends deeper into inner space, exploring other realms of consciousness in the cosmos. Disorientated but hopeful, emotional but ambiguous, this track will stimulate all of your senses and prepare you for the EP’s magnificent closing.
“Light Years From Home” is my personal favorite and a great example of how diverse and transformative Bluetech’s music can be. Shrewdly designed, his reverberations tenderly guide layers of rich harmony and enlightening melodies. Genuinely uplifting and authentic, this track is a fully formed vision of permeating interdimensional peacefulness. Drenched in space dust, this intricate canvas will enhance your appreciation of life’s infinite possibilities.
You can stream SpaceHop Chronicles Vol. 1 for free or download for the low price of $6 here.
I’ll end with some advice from Bartholomew himself:
“There are two things that I would say would be my strongest pieces of advice:
One, pursue individuality relentlessly. Any attempt to make music like what other people are doing or the sound of the week is a dangerous path. As soon as you make a sound that is the sound of now, it’s no longer the sound of now. Maybe that’s why my growth has been really small- I never really jumped on to the genre bandwagon. But I feel like I’ve had some longevity, and the people that are tuned in to what I do are willing to listen, whatever direction I go in. It’s really, really important to figure out what your personal voice is.
The other is community. Reach out to people who are doing similar things, who have a similar mindset, build personal networks. Ten artists that believe in the same thing that are helping each other out have access to ten times times more people than each of the artists have individually, so I think that it’s essential. It fulfills something. There’s a community to lean on when you’re struggling on the road and exhausted, you have buddies you can call. You’ve got people you see in various cities and at festivals that you can check in with. To me that’s been one of the ways that I’ve survived the stress of being on the road all the time. The connections with people that started around the same time that I did, or I’ve known throughout the years- our orbits around the planet keep crossing.
-Evan Marc Bartholomew
“Like” Bluetech on Facebook now – not only is his music worthy of your appreciation, he often shares and recommends breathtaking art from around the world. Bartholomew also launched his blog Nomad Culture last year. Check it out to explore fascinating art, thought-provoking interviews and other high quality content to grow your brain.
Evan Marc SoundCloud – Bartholomew’s techno/house project