If you don’t know what a dhol drum is, you’ll definitely want to buy one after sitting through Bolts by Hagop Tchaparian. Tchaparian has married searing house music and ethnic Armenian field recordings throughout Bolts. But he doesn’t use the delirious dhol highs as a crutch. The whole is more subdued than the parts, and it is a marvel of music-making.
Tchaparian has lived two or three lives.
A musician, a tour manager for Hot Chip, a producer…all after growing up with his family in London as an exile from Turkey. The British-Armenian producer also spent years capturing field recordings from Armenian musicians and buskers playing Arabic instruments in return trips to his father’s Anjar on the border of Lebanon and Syria.
These lifetimes came together in the tapestry that is Bolts. Here is the September single from Hagop Tchaparian, “Right to Riot.” Warn your neighbors and play at very high decibals.
As mentioned, Bolts isn’t a front-to-back frenzy of Arabic techno beats. It is a love letter to the Armenian culture that his exiled father refused to let the family forget, and a remarkable debut.