reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
How do you break up a year of your life? By season? By significant events, accomplishments, or tragedies? Fabricated Dreams EP is Julian Alvarado’s documentation of a year, but instead of taking a straightforward approach, he uniquely segments the time by mood and atmosphere.
What Blooms is the name of Julian Alvarado’s project — and it clicks with the way each track gradually unfolds to reveal its heart. “Welcome” is an exercise in patience, but it pays off: feel yourself inch forward in your seat as the music expands around you, fully instrumental until a warped little soundbite punctures the end. “Fright Nite” finds the joy with a bouncy, sunny beat and hazy vocals. Everything under the surface of “Welcome” is present on “Fright Nite” but emotionally flipped. The guitar keens dizzyingly and spins the track into highlight territory.
What is proper documentation of a year without acknowledging the slow, moody slices? “Her Typhoon of the Heart” is sultry, romantic, and buries the vocals amidst ambiance. The impact is the sensation of being hugged by a wash of sound. “Egg Joke” takes a sharp turn for the heavy — you are never made to sit still during Fabricated Dreams — and unease is built with hints of sirens. “Egg Joke” carries the suggestion of reaching outside the comfort zone, the percussion pounds and a piercing guitar pulls you through a fog. Though it lacks the polished likability of “Fright Nite”, “Egg Joke” encapsulates the kinetic energy that What Blooms skims across on the first three tracks. It’s a well-placed closer and powerfully re-listenable.
Fabricated Dreams EP is linked by the experiences of its creator, but What Blooms is also using the four song set to showcase a range of expression. No matter what the past year means to you, there’s something that will stir you on this little introduction.
Top Track: “Fright Nite”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)