2014 Artists' Picks

A Far Cry
Black Vines
Borghi & Teager
EM62 & Cancino
Flug 8
William Ryan Fritch
Frode Haltli
Erik Honoré
Marsen Jules
Inoo-Kallay Duo
Kimyan Law
Man Watching the Stars
Marble Sky
Mini Pops Junior
Roach & Reyes
Secret Pyramid
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Andy Stott
Ryan Streber
Swarm Intelligence
Terminal Sound System
Erik Truffaz & Murcof
Unto Ashes

Sylvain Chauveau
Brian Eno

Now's The Time 3

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Michael Ashe
Far Out Mon. Disco Orch.
Neil Leonard
Stag Hare

36: Pulse Dive
3six Recordings

UK-based ambient producer Dennis Huddleston follows his 2014 full-length Dream Tempest with a three-track EP that speaks just as powerfully on behalf of his 36 project, if in a comparatively concise manner. The material lends itself naturally to the twelve-inch format, given the dramatic contrast in style between the title track and the two settings that come after.

Certainly “Pulse Dive” is aptly titled, given the driving pulse that gives such momentum to the material. Huddleston actually began work on the track about five years ago and initially conceived of it as the opening piece for his Hollow album. But finally deciding that it didn't fit the tone of the album, he set it aside and, after returning to it repeatedly in the years following Hollow's release, brought it to a state of completion in October 2014. Of the EP's three tracks, it's the one least characteristic of the 36 sound, which typically leans more in the direction of luscious ambient soundsculpting. “Pulse Dive,” on the other hand, is veritably motorik in the way its chugging shuffle and singing background pattern create a kinetic base for the neo-psychedelic star-bursts that flicker overtop for seven minutes. Some lovely chord progressions surface in the background to add to the drama, and the whole thing begins to seem like a space shuttle cruising at light-speed through the uppermost reaches of the galaxy.

In contrast to the protracted gestation of “Pulse Dive,” “Stasis Eject” was composed in only a few days and is more in line with the kind of stirring ambient soundscaping we've generally come to associate with 36. Eerie, emotive, sombre, titanic, grandiose, slow-burning—all such words apply equally well to “Stasis Eject,” a six-minute miniature epic of uncommon beauty. Considerably less portentous by comparison, “Sky Fire” concludes the EP with a delicate, lullaby-like meditation that's sweetened with a tinkling piano melody and is seductive in its Eno-like drift. It's also an excellent choice of closer for the way its becalmed character counters the darkness of “Stasis Eject” and the high-energy of “Pulse Dive.”

January 2015