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Bolam – Artificial Flavours

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Edinburgh DJ seasons Chicago house sounds on debut EP.

Image of Bolam – Artificial Flavours

(out Sat 7 Apr 2018)

Stand at the entrance of any nightclub and smoke-filled rainbows will vent out the windows over the heads of the queue or smokers loitering outside. Equally so, at the entrance of Summer 2018, expect the tracks on debut EP Artificial Flavours by Edinburgh-based DJ Jack Hardie aka Bolam to be one of the soundtracks drawing you in to towards that polychromatic smog.

Due for release on 7 Apr, EP opener Burnin’ is a thick, squelching introduction to proceedings which is Chicago house in spirit. Incorporating motley vocals pasted into a scrapbook of bright-coloured sound, a positive verve runs the length of the record. It is music calculated to make the body move.

This exhilarating start slows during Notsu, a kaleidoscopic cocktail which sweetens the tongue and pickles the musical taste buds. The track parades a lush, female soul vocal repeating the line, “Set me free from me”, while a sedated woodpecker drum machine keeps those shoulders shunting. Equally comfortable at home or in the club, this track is arguably the pick of the bunch for its diversity and rich groove.

Third track Limitless carries a rebellious intensity and a more bellicose nature. Compact sequencers appear to be used before driving into the shuffling, fatter beat on Re-Motion where the tempo dips then ascends sonic ladders over sampled vocals. Like an accordion squeezing together all the record’s best components, the swelling climax of the Artificial Flavours EP leaves the listener keen for more – a starter before the main.

From origins in Shetland club night Electric Soup, Bolam has absorbed the principal and fundamental elements of house music and remoulded its shape and energy for the capital’s venues. This is an admirable start to his discography and with its release dropping just in time for summer’s lighter nights, it should be enough to paint some colour over the gothic creatures fastened to the outer shell of Edinburgh’s buildings. Savour it.

/ @StephenwattSpit


Dumbarton FC Poet-in-residence, author of 'Spit' (2012 - Bonacia) and 'Optograms' (2016 - Wild Word Press), one half of gothic spoken word/music project Neon Poltergeist, reviewer for Louder Than War, Rave Child and The Wee Review.

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