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KEYFRAME - BLUETECH’s “Holotrope” review

Fresh on the heels of his #10 Dance/Electronic Billboard-charting album “Sci-Fi Lullabies” (#1 on Bandcamp), Bluetech returns with a deep dive into genre-defying electronic music on his new double LP “Holotrope.” Imagined as a psychonauts journey into inner space and back, “Holotrope” contains 4 distinct continuously mixed movements.

As an internationally recognized touring music producer with over 27 album / EP releases and a seasoned portfolio of video game and film scoring credits, Bluetech masters the analog and modular sound synthesis and DSP audio manipulation. His music transcends the constructs normally associated with a calculated “electronic artist,” pursuing music with meaning and purpose with downtempo, future bass and progressive electronic music, and poly-rhythmic percussion. Evan Bartholomew has been performing electronic music for nearly 20 years as Bluetech, Evan Marc and Invisible Allies (with Kilowatts).

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As a supporter of Bluetech’s, Julian Reyes of Keyframe-Entertainment is happy to offer an in-depth album review.

Review by Julian Reyes of Keyframe-Entertainment:

The Electronic Music genre-bending legacy that Bluetech has created over the past two decades is undeniable. Descending, Expanding, Ascending, & Integrating: the four movements of this new Holotrope album are atmospheric, psychedelic, harmonic, and familial journeys that transport the listener back to the Bluetech universe.

Descending: The term “Ancient Future” is perfectly applicable to “Stone, River, and Shadow,” the track’s futuristic sounds including archaic melodies conjuring space themes. With “Afterimage Flare,” Bluetech explores funk-filled echoes trickling with vocal arrangements. The sonic drips continue seamlessly into “Turning Inside Out”, a composition filled with anticipation and reintegration preparing the listener for the next movement.

Expanding: The plectruming of the mellow “Blisswave 2.0” feels like a gentle passage, a welcoming of the expanding possibilities of this sonic tapestry. “Seeing With the I” is a return to the classic Bluetech sound, a reset of remembrance:I felt total déjà vu listening to this track… like a “heard it a thousand times before,” and that is one of the reasons why Bluetech’s sound resonates with so many. Millions of people feel anachronism living in these modern times, and Holotrope reminds us of another possible timeline. How different would the world be if we adopted different beginnings? We are all one and have forgotten the deep truth that we are not just “connected” to nature, we are nature = “Heart Logic.”

As this movement ends, the beat emerges forward and takes center stage. “Heart Logic” is my favorite track of the album which is perfectly nestled at the center of the work. To me, this track is like a playful and groovy alien organism finding its way home.

Ascending:The transition between the tracks are beautiful, both technically and musically. The pacing of the album is fantastic. “Spectral Currents” carry smooth healing waves, melodic purposeful intention, and groovy patterns. Being carried away with the sonic currents brings the listener to a gorgeous landscape, and “Astral Cartography” explores the unlimited possibilities of the sound. This track can set a dance floor on fire or render calmness in a long drive. Bluetech’s groove is a balance of high energy and chill space grooves. While ascending, “Eyes Within Wheels” explores karmic branches of knowledge and time, the tempo remains steady and driving further into the bird’s-eye view of this seminal work.

Integrating: invites the listener to come back, to return to source. “Dissolution by Proxy” is a beautiful ambient invitation to reconnect body, mind and breath... It’s cinematic spacious allowance. “Awakening - Serpents Tail” is the journey’s landing, welcoming to self, an acceptance of being. This amazing piece opens up vistas and relaxes the mind.

Closing out the album is the universal sonic mantra, “The End is in The Beginning, The Beginning is in The End,” one final reminder that we can also begin anew. Holotrope is a journey filled with healing, exploration, and potential energy.

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Inspired by Holotropic Breathwork, meditation, lucid dreaming and journeys through the imaginal realms, “Holotrope” presents a map of movement through layers of perception. Starting with a centering in the physical body and descending into the realms of expanded awareness and ego dissolution, the music charts a serpentine path through ever deep states of being.

Following up on a highly prolific year of releases, Bluetech invites you to #jointhemoment and journey through Holotrope!

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KEYFRAME: You've been performing electronic music for nearly 20 years as Bluetech, Evan Marc and Invisible Allies (with Kilowatts). How has your journey evolved and where do you want it to go?

BLUETECH: I think one of the benefits of logging a lot of time in the creative process is that you begin to actually trust that process. I keep making jokes that 40 is the new 20 without crippling insecurity and lack of resources. Lol. I don't feel like I have to "try" to make music any more, it’s something that is so essential and fundamental to who I am as a being that it just occurs. I trust that the connection between the realm of inspiration and the realm of manifestation is secure, and allow myself to just enjoy the flow.

As far as goals, I'm really interested in film and video game scoring. There is something super appealing about being able to help drive a narrative and emotional journey with a visual component that you just don't get with an album. Even this 5 minute video I just edited for 'Spectral Currents' was hugely satisfying and has increased my desire to do this sort of work.

KEYFRAME: Tell us about the creation process for Holotrope.

BLUETECH: Holotrope was a bit of a different journey for me, as it’s the first album I've ever written consecutively from start to finish. What I mean by this is that I usually start composing songs and don't know the order until everything is done and I’m moving them around continuously until it feels right. Holotrope was always meant to be a 4-part album of continuous journeys, so the first song on the album was the first song I wrote, and the last song on the album was the final piece I worked on.

It was a really interesting methodology because in many ways it felt like I was always working on just one track, and picking up where I left off. In its own way, it was like writing a story, creating an emotional narrative that people would experience as they listen to the album.

I know it’s slightly foolish to focus on album journeys in an era of singles, but this was the concept and I had to go with it. I refuse to let market considerations drive my creative process.

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KEYFRAME: You have multiple upcoming events, including Cosmic Convergence in Guatemala for NYE. Anything in particular you're most looking forward to there or other events?

BLUETECH: I have played at Cosmic Convergence before and am super excited to play there again. Lake Atitlan is gorgeous, the people are incredible, and it’s que romantico to be on water taxis travelling around to villages on this gorgeous Mayan lake. Will be there with friends and fellow musical inspirations like Living Light, so it kind of feels like vacation instead of work. Not a terrible day job, right?

Cosmic Convergence Festival is a transformative cultural initiative designed to leave a positive social and local impact. The festival supports different artists, organizations and community projects, encouraging a platform between cultures, individuals and social impact projects. The festival will take place at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, from December 29, 2019 - January 1, 2020.

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About Julian Reyes (reviewer):

Julian Reyes is CEO of Keyframe-Entertainment, a specialized brand strategy firm, which helps XR companies, start-ups, and venues reach their optimal market and connect with its vast network.

Julian's professional experience reflects a lifelong dialogue with Design, 3D animation, Electronic Dance Music, and Technology. He has worked for notable companies, and has co-produced far-ranging work in Transformational culture as Artist Manager, Event Producer, Strategist, and Creative Director. Julian is the Executive Producer of Andrew Johner’s “Electronic Awakening” (and managed its worldwide screening campaign of over 160 venues), “The Bloom Series” Episode 3, and the community book project, “ReInhabiting the Village.” Most recently, Julian Executive Produced “Con Te Damanhur”, a Virtual 360° experience of Damanhur by Fifer Garbesi, and is currently working on other VR projects and events. Julian is also on the Board of the Electronic Music Alliance and has been a supporter of the organization for many years.

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