It was around the same time two years ago, sitting in a hotel room waiting for a phone call in a town in which I knew no one, where all signs of life seemed to disappear in the early evening hours: a purely industrial town with absolutely nothing going on. Not allowed to take my guitar due to company policy, and armed with an internet connection that would make dial up look half decent, I could only find refuge in the couple of albums I had just received before travelling. One of these was 36’s Lithea. For the next couple of weeks it became my sole companion, and an amazing one at that. For that I’ll always be grateful to Dennis Huddlestone.
As the follow up to last year’s widely acclaimed Dream Tempest, Pulse Dive encapsulates everything that makes 36 one of the most exciting ambient artists around. The title track is exactly what it says on the tin; a continuous, modulating hi-hat pulse and a techno-tinged synth arpeggio serve as the foreground to an array of field recordings, reverb drenched guitar slides and melodies that filter in and out of the mix. It’s hypnotic, immersive, and intelligent, assuring that the listener will be hooked for the remainder of the EP.
The energy levels drop significantly in the following tracks in favour of lush, beautiful soundscapes. Endless fields of sound and beautiful subtle melodies make up both tracks, but while “Stasis Eject” revels in longing, “Sky Fire” exudes a more hopeful vibe. The way the piano in the latter morphs in layers of glitchy undertones is the highlight of a nearly flawless thirty minutes of music. Pulse Dive is an extraordinary accomplishment and a perfect start to the new year. (Mohammed Ashraf)