Hagop Tchaparian’s tortuous path to his full-length debut, bolts, included a brief turn into teen stardom as guitarist for the punk band Symposium, which garnered a series of coveted gigs playing on the Warped Tour and opening for Metallica in the late ’90s. After that group faded, producer British-Armenian dove deep into the London club scene; It was there, in collaboration with dance heavyweights like Four Tet and Hot Chip, that Tchaparian laid the foundation for his pulsing, chronological sound. bolts It’s more than speakeasy club fodder, though. It’s a sprawling statement of history, compiled from more than 15 years of personal recordings (Armenian wedding guests jumping over fire, local musicians busking) that blends folk elements with sleek electronic beats.
“Right to Riot”, a sweeping techno anthem in bolts‘, the back half, is the album’s big statement of purpose. Anchored by blaring dhol drums and fluting zurna, it sets off in waves: the zurna shrieks over the droning bass and wailing kicks, disappearing into the midst like steam. But she returns almost immediately, setting the track ablaze with her blinding shrieks. “Right to Riot” is a study in intensity, a pressure cooker whose walls of industrial noise sear the ears and cast the sentimental shapes of Tchaparian’s memories in sharp relief. The result is a searing, hyper-real clash of the past and present that looks into a boundless future.