36 – Pulse Dive (EP, 3six Recordings, 2015)


A new year heralds a new 36 record, albeit only a relatively short one for the time being. Clocking in at a lightweight 17 minutes, it’s not quite the shortest production Dennis Huddleston has created to date but it’s close; despite it’s apparent brevity, however, Pulse Dive promises to be one of his most emotionally charged and cathartic releases, spurned on by the death of a close friend and the introspective, existential tide that accompanies such events.

The 7 minute title track is the core of the EP, a work who’s production has been over 5 years in the making, hailing from 36’s Hollow era but ultimately being sidelined when it didn’t fit the album, and it’s pretty clear to see why. Whilst some of its deepest drone lines sit heavy and viscous in its heart, the synth melodies that play out above are considerably more energetic and eager to propel the piece into the growing darkness, driving the piece through the unknown and leaving a twinkling wake of shuffling high-hats and thin synths behind its path. This older, darker cruise coupled with fresher and keener foreground elements make for an interesting juxtaposition as the track seeks to find new ground and steer itself into more hopeful territory, leaving the hardships and grief from whence it came.

Whilst Dennis admits in his press release that “Pulse Dive” is one of his close favourites, it’s the second track of this little EP, “Stasis Eject”, that has stuck with me and become one of my own personal favourites; the energised sequences of the title track are left by the wayside as we segue into a black, crystalline void of introspection, a sea of fragile drones that remain calmly undisturbed as we sail through our fears, anxieties and regrets. The entire piece is ensconced in a thick layer of muffled and protective reverb, a buffer to the haunting synth pads that call out of the deep with their slow paced melancholia. There is something both bleak and abyssal, yet somehow amazingly beauteous, about this piece, that’s difficult to define; it feels a bit like watching the stars slide past the window of our spaceship, gazing out at the depressing and unknowable vastness of the space beyond the pane.

The final track of the album is something of a cooldown piece, and a rather pleasant and much appreciated one at that; “Sky Fire” slides in on delicate piano turnings suspended on a bed of lightly shifted drone flutters and wavering synth notes, a fragile and tender little number that wants nothing more than to be left alone in the quiet and think nothing more of these hardships and troublesome introspections as it slowly and uncomplicatedly spins out. Overall it’s a wonderful little closing track to a largely very carefully plotted and exactingly emotional EP; I suppose the only disappointment is that there isn’t more content than just three tracks! That being said, Pulse Dive manages to squeeze a surprising amount of tenderness and thoughtful, contemplative music within its limited timespan and it’s definitely worth checking out if you want a dosed measure of potent introspection but are short on time; 4am ceiling-gazing music for sure.