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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Bart Hawkins 21 Pulse Eclipse (2019)

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

“21 Pulse Eclipse is an album not for all ears, but that will reward the more reckless ones”

1 Dream Meditation Part 1 12:20

2 21 Pulse Eclipse 17:13

3 Your Breath is Electric 7:14

4 Energy Currents 8:26

5 Torus Energy Currents 4:48

6 Bell Curve Blips 6:40

7 Crazy 8 Frobogs Throuping Through the Seven Forrests 8:28

8 Dream Meditation Part 2 8:16

(CD/DDL/Spotify 73:30) (VF)

(Modular Synth Music)

Hmm ... How to say! Here's an album that is not easy to tame and was initiated during the complete solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 in Oregon. Between abstract music and a very progressive New Age, Bart Hawkins' music travels between two extremes without making any compromises. 21 PULSE ECLPSE is an odyssey in sounds where our ears are filled with experiments of a modular synth in experimental mode. There are many melodious filaments, like good intuitive rhythms. But for the rest, it's an exploratory adventure in the land of drones, effects of reverberations, didge effects, radioactive pulsations and lines of synth multiplying in a context of abrasion of the sound molecules that end up fixing themselves in a swarm of din from where are emerging some interesting things. In short, an album not for all ears, but that will reward the more reckless ones.

It's in accordance with the meaning of its title that Dream Meditation Part 1 settles between my ears. If the excellent mastering and realization of Howard Givens increased the listening field in my speakers, I favor listening with headphones to discover this sound universe woven into its paradoxes. Rustling leaves and chirping birds brighten up a slow ascent of the sun which is taking shape by an oblong evolution of the synth pads. Melodious and soporific, these layers have a taste of Michael Stearns in my ears. Beatings are hidden behind this panorama always rich of its effects of radiant morning, pushing an intensity which increases slowly while bringing always these sparkling sounds and these seraphic songs in a soundscape more and more convincing. The knocks accelerate an imaginary cadence with a train effect rolling on a fragile rail, while the panorama is always abounding of sound textures very pleasant for our emotions. We must savor this title, because what follows is quite the opposite with an exploration of Bart Hawkins' modular synth tones. So, our senses walk on a nest of reverbs, quite musical, of the title-track. A core of unruly pulsations burst. Its radiations come and go in a radioactive cloud, imagined in the refractions of the synth. The sound mass acts as an adoration effect in front of the solar eclipse of which one can easily imagine these explosions and these filaments of fire belted its circular axis. A noisy rhythm without rhythm emerges from this fusion between night and day, bringing 21 Pulse Eclipse in a spiral sound filled with these knocks which were in Dream Meditation Part 1. Intense and rowdy, 21 Pulse Eclipse will take back its surplus of energy in a finale that must be listened to in order to hear sonic lassos flying over our ears and centipedes fleeing the light of day. Let's say we are in an experimental portion of 21 PULSE ECLPSE.

And it doesn't calm down with the serenade of the didgeridoos that whirls in the intense magma of sounds that is Your Breath is Electric. A title that says it all! Energy Currents is an exercise of know-how on a modular. At this level, I prefer the tribal essence of Torus Energy Currents which is a clever mix between Energy Currents and Your Breath is Electric. A title that would go very well in the repertoire of Steve Roach. Bell Curve Blips is another good title to discover. Certainly its cloud of jerking reverb effects and its wall of caustic synth pads can annoy a meditative listening. But there are carillon notes that tinkle in this end-of-the-world setting. The ambient melody that they carve persists to breathe to emerge angelic in a finale where a friend plays the guitar in a community hall. I liked the contrasting ambiances, all the same quite musical, of this title. I can not say the same thing about Crazy 8 Throbbing Frobogs Through the Seven Forrests whose atmospheres, and flights of mechanical drones, proudly carry the iconoclastic significance of this title that I found VERY indigestible to my ears. It's in a concerto of jerky layers that Dream Meditation Part 2 completes this first daring album by Bart Hawkins on Spotted Peccary. Although nothing can unite the two parts, the music offered is much more listenable than the one offered since the title track, with the exception of Torus Energy Currents and Bell Curve Blips. In short, an album that we want to discover because we are in love with the art of modular synths and not that we have to discover! Yes ... paradoxes!

Sylvain Lupari (November 4th, 2019) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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