BUNKR – The Initiation Well (VLSI)

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Brighton, UK-based electronic producer James Dean first emerged under his BUNKR alias back in 2017 with his ‘Cloud Chaser’ EP on Love On The Rocks, and on the heels of two download-only EPs last year on VLSI, ‘The Initiation Well’ offers up his debut album. As the widescreen vista of the sleeve art hints, the predominant mood here leans towards proggy ambience, with hints of house and techno rhythms surfacing throughout the nine tracks collected here.

‘East Of Eden’ offers up a serene beatless opening section that sees warm synth pads stretching out against distant droning bass, the warm bleed of intersecting harmonic layers evoking visions of the sun rising as glittering arpeggiated sequences accelerate in velocity, before echoing away amidst psychedelic washes of delay.

By contrast, ‘Docking Procedure’ sees the 4/4 kickdrums locking straight in, but while the track’s powered by a stiff-tech-house pulse bolstered with rippling electronic sequences, the woozy pitch-shifted analogue synths that hang in the background add hypnotic vibe that’s less dancefloor-centric and more along the lines of post-Balearic late night headphone listening.

Elsewhere, the aptly titled ‘Solitary Drift’ wanders out into proggy ambient territory that suggests early eighties Tangerine Dream as starkly elegant synth arrangements drift against icy minor keys and pulsing analogue bass sequences, before ‘For The Birds’ kicks the pace up a notch, sending fluttering krautrock-centric rhythms gliding against bright melodic synth arrangements and gracefully cycling arpeggiated sequences, the filtered synth solos bleeding out into the horizon against the track’s smoothly ebbing bass pulse.

Fans of classic ambient explorations along the lines of The Orb and Tom Middleton should find plenty to savour on this strong debut album from BUNKR.

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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands

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