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Bluetech :: Love Songs From the Source
[interchill]   review from derek  


Evan has many last names—Bartholomew, Marc, and the one he is most well known for, Bluetech. His musical moniker is usually the latter, though he has been known to release under various guises on varied labels. His latest, Love Songs From the Source, is not only his first with Canada's Interchill, it assaults and destroys anything he has put forth yet.

I was intrigued when I first started receiving his albums from the Israeli label Aleph Zero nearly a half-decade ago. Friends told me of his intense remix personality. I tuned in, and was certainly impressed, though his sound was a bit tech-heavy, even though predominantly downtempo. His songs reminded me of beatcrafters like Ott and Sphongle, in no way a bad comparison, only that for a music attempting to blur the lines between digital and organic, the drum programming was a bit too crisp, the synthesized sounds a little too pad-heavy.

The classically trained pianist has certainly found balance on Love Songs. The opening track, "Seed to Soil," returns me to Ott's Blumenkraft. From there Evan goes off on a reggae-influenced, bass-heavy escapade that refuses to quit for thirteen more tracks. His collection of sounds ranges from two dubby remixes of Brooklyn-based Dr Israel ("Dread Inna Babylon" and "Counting Out Stones," the latter featuring Lady K on vocals, which for some reason are presented as original songs, but were originally on Israel's exceptional Patterns of War) and the equally Rastafied instrumental tribute to the world's favorite monkey god, "Hanuman," to a gorgeous slow jamming "Escape" and the best take on Sami vocalist Mari Boine this side of Bill Laswell, "Big Medicine."

The clear winners on Love Songs feature New York jazz vocalist Katrina Blackstone. While Evan's instrumentals have always been powerful, that sultry feminine energy dancing over the luscious beats of "Change," in which Blackstone turns Gandhi's famous maxim into a smoothed down club hit, and the uplifting "Lay Your Sorrows Down," where she uses the Portishead (and others) trick of making the sad feel inspired, offers the producer an entirely new dimension. She's also featured on his upcoming live dates with his Satori Social band, which unfortunately does not visit Brooklyn—yet. I'll be the first in the audience to check out this juggernaut of sonic tapestries.

Love Songs was in fact created specifically for a live set, which may explain the roundedness of these fourteen tracks. Little in his catalog matches the depth of "To Mend," featuring vocalist Lynx and dulcimer player/percussionist Jamie Janover (and featured in slightly different form on the 2010 EP, Between Worlds), and you are left with the feeling that many trustworthy hands have touched this masterful work. A certain workaholic with an astute ear for the sublime, Bluetech is certain to reach the tip of many tongues, regardless of what name he chooses.



ethnotechno rating: 4.5 out of 5
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  1. Seed to Soil
  2. Green Sophia (Gnosis Mix)
  3. Change
  4. Dread Inna Babylon (pick)
  5. Two River Sisters
  6. Lay Your Sorrows Down
  7. Hanuman
  8. Waiting for Initiation
  9. Counting Out Stones (pick)
  10. Polychrome Petroglyph
  11. Three Worlds
  12. Big Medicine (Bluetech Remix)
  13. To Mend (pick)
  14. Escape (pick)