Bolts by Hagop Tchaparian

Hagop Tchaparian - Bolts - Album
When I heard the title "Bolts," my ears pricked up. I knew it was a skater. It's such a specific term. "Landing bolts" means to land your trick perfectly. Technically you would be landing with both your feet on the bolts of your skateboard. It's one of the most satisfying ways to land any flip trick, and as a description of Hagop's release, it is pretty much the perfect title. The album lands clean every time, but like all good practitioners, he's riding the terrain with aplomb, applying his style and creating a fresh perspective on what's possible. 

I've always loved skaters with mixed styles that can ride any terrain. This album is the musical equivalent of an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle). It moves, mixes and blends in ways that keep you on your toes. The opener, "Timelapse," is a delicate carving, a broken glitch of a tune, building on a bountifully unclean but melodic cut and progressing into the first hints of the bass power to come. The opening of GL reminded me of Neutral Milk Hotel for some reason (King of Carrot Flowers Part 2/3). It moves in a completely different direction, but that sums up the album's style. Its reference points are diverse. GL proceeds to get its dirty Berlin on and slaps hard!!, changing tempo at the last minute to land clean on a softer break. The grinding mournful wails of "Escape" sit stripped and adrift. It's not moving in a bubble bath of bass.

The build for "Flame" is slow. The oven tray percussion switching to sweeping clean melodic synth hits creating that classic Bouba/Kiki effect. At over 8 mins, it's a proper head swimmer—one for the spacemen and a clear banger on a big sound system.

"Raining" has that screwed and chopped vibe: horror grind, basic style, groovy.
An electric charge runs through "Right to riot" that can't be ignored. The choon flicking from space to space—Building and maintaining an intensity that makes one's head swim. The unique drum and Mizmar samples create an intense mix that takes no prisoners.

The pace of "Jordan" takes the album somewhere else. It's a slow durge, a death march, but with perhaps the most melodic track so far. It's a full-width bass, tinkling zithers, and delicate melodic synths—a charming mix indeed!

I love listening to records with a unique sound, and this album is a refreshing and fun ride for all but a few of the more basic tunes. It picks you up and carries you along, sending you in all directions, finally landing on "Iceberg" a track that feels like a clean ride away into a warm and glowing future.

Bolts is available now at

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