When I first heard of Ash, I didn’t know of his connection to Sugardonut. Years later, he joined LudiSTELO. After two LudiSTELO albums and the reemergence of Sugardonut, Ash returned with his third full length. The difference between The 3 Phases of Love Lost and Dream is rather large. The two previous solo albums definitely were influenced by the music he was performing at the time because Pulse is Ash’s perspective on rock and electronic music.
Starting the album with “Heart Flutter” was interesting. A primarily piano track with backing samples, it tells you that you’re not going to hear the same kind of music you heard before. “Falling Rain” sounds like a LudiSTELO B-side. It’s does use a slower tempo than found on LudiSTELO tracks, but contains similar strong ties to melody.
“We Met Again At The Pentaport” sounds like it could have come from Dream just adjusted to have more samples rather than a standard band. It’s one of my favorite songs on Pulse because it has a purity rising from the instrumentals. With much of the instrumentals using electronic and synth samples, it could be easy to consider all of these songs as unused LudiSTELO tracks. But as you listen through Pulse, you can really hear Ash’s perspective coming through the music. Even more, if you heard Ash’s previous albums, many of the same tonal themes come through regardless of the instruments used.
I didn’t think that Ash would record another album after Dream. His two previous albums were some of my favorites when I was discovering Korean music. Pulse feels like a representation of Ash’s continued experience coming forward. He’s a very talented musician and that comes through on his third album.