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Kieran Hebden’s Text Records is proud to announce Bolts, the debut album from British-Armenian producer Hagop Tchaparian, set for release in autumn 2022.
“Can I say, my friends call me Hagop? I don’t want people to struggle with my long name. I always liked that Eminem introduced himself and said “hi, my name is….” I think I want to be called Hagop so people find it easy to connect.”
Hagop’s debut album Bolts features ten tracks of hyper-personal rhythm music that mixes techno with field recordings of his travels through Armenian and Mediterranean culture. Early DJ support has come from Four Tet, Gilles Peterson and Nikki Nair. The artwork for Bolts was curated by skateboard, music and sports photography legend Atiba Jefferson.
The 10 tracks on Bolts, combine the audio evidence of a life’s experience, with the notion that lo-fi techno can be the right canvas for conveying that experience. Hagop’s been gathering these sounds and vignettes for almost 15 years, having begun accumulating them before the smart-phone in his pocket included a “record” function. He would isolate sounds from videos that his friends sent, like the Armenian wedding clip that showed members of the party jumping over a fire while a drummer played in the background. He would stop street musicians to ask if he could record their playing, like the women playing the qanun, a harp-like Arabic string instrument; or he would record with professional musicians playing specialist instruments like the zurna. He visited places important to his family, like the Lebanese village of Anjar, where his father’s family took refuge after being driven out of the Armenian- Turkish town of Musa Dagh in 1939, documenting his own steps on the gravel roads his father once walked.
The result is the sound of a man chasing his heritage around the world, while sprinkling clues of his everyday life amidst the manipulated folk instruments of his ancestry. There are aspects of tactile remembrances in between these rhythms, at times the result feels explosive. From its title down to the incessant bleating of the zurna, “Right to Riot” is like a punk techno that cries for the disaffected. Whereas “Timelapse,” which features a loop of the music that accompanies the fire-jumping wedding ritual sews together what seem like connected images in a photo album that may be physically decomposing, but whose power remains.
Hagop’s past is the precursor to him creating something meaningful with these recordings. In his teens Tchaparian, played guitar in Symposium, a 90’s post-grunge punk band. Symposium had a few years of success, big enough to visit the States on Warped Tour, play on the main stage of Reading and open for Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Metallica; just long enough to become disenchanted with the music business, and split up debt-ridden.
After Symposium, Hagop contributed to a 2000 comp called Hokis, which collected music by Armenian artists — but mostly got drawn into London’s club scene, where he became friends with Hot Chip and later a tour manager to both Hot Chip and Four Tet.
1. Timelapse 3:46
2. GL 2:56
3. Escape 2:44
4. Flame 8:52
5. Raining 3:40
6. Right To Riot 5:00
7. Round 4:00
8. Jordan 4:05
9. Ldz 2:06
10. Iceberg 3:09