Evan Bartholomew

Borderlands

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With some electronic recordings, it is hard to tell exactly where new age ends and ambient electronica begins; Borderlands is such a recording. New age and ambient are both primary ingredients on this 2007 release by producer/composer Evan Bartholomew, aka Bluetech. Those familiar with the San Diego-based instrumentalist's background might wonder why Borderlands was released under the name Evan Bartholomew when some of his other CDs have been released under the Bluetech moniker, and perhaps it is a stylistic matter. Bartholomew's Bluetech releases (which have included 2003's Prima Materia and 2005's Sines and Singularities) have tended to be much more rhythmic and club-minded than Borderlands and don't have this album's strong new age appeal; so perhaps recording under two different names is his way of compartmentalizing his funkier side and his more reflective, new age-friendly side. Both sides of Bartholomew are appealing, and on Borderlands, his strong influences include, among others, Philip Glass, Brian Eno, and Tangerine Dream. This is not an album that pretends to rock; Borderlands is the sort of disc that would rather float than rock, and Bartholomew maintains a dreamy ambience. New age enthusiasts will appreciate the CD's calm, relaxing nature, but that isn't to say that Borderlands is mindless or favors a turn-your-brain-off approach; this 55-minute disc is no less substantial than the albums Bartholomew has recorded as Bluetech. Borderlands is not groundbreaking, but it is a likable and worthwhile demonstration of the producer/composer skills that Bartholomew brings to the electronic realm.

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