Pulse transit Ashley Davies Independent Acclaimed Melbourne drummer Ashley Davies explores the realm of the concept album with his latest offering. Pulse transit, the sixth solo release from Davies, is billed as “a 32-minute nonstop instrumental music venture through time and rhythm”. As the title suggests, there is much emphasis on a constant beat, or beats. The pace shifts up and down according to mood and energy. Davies tries to convey the idea of two parallel trajectories, travelling along two lines of time. One is shifting, the other fixed. Sometimes they seem in sync, then time signatures change. Davies shows off his multitalents, writing and arranging most of the album, and playing all guitars, harmonica and synthesisers as well as drums. The high points are two tracks that overtly convey rhythmic movement, 179 on the Hume (track two) and VFT (track six). Davies takes you speeding in the fast lane. On Diurnal, the final track, he plays searing ethereal guitar. On Decoke (track two), he plays echoey blues harmonica. While there is undoubtedly good material here, it does not fit a genre. That might not matter, but Pulse transit is uneven. It does not hang together as “nonstop instrumental music” in the way of, say, the Necks, or Brian Eno (the latter cited as a Davies influence). The main difficulty is such clear divisions between each of the eight tracks, with their disparate styles and instruments. After an atmospheric start, the sound jumps from ambient to 12-bar blues, and something else again. In the forest (track five) is acoustic doodles and pleasant strings reminiscent of the Six Feet Under theme, while Fremantle Doctor (track seven) is brass and a doodling xylophone. Eclectic? Definitely. But still searching for its concept and theme. “an appeal to the divine for help and healing”, is beautifully mellow and hopeful, as New Jersey singer-songwriter Sharon von Etten’s vocal contrasts with Butler’s swirling, unhurried production. Controller is more familiar territory, as a dirty bassline and the moody vocal of Horrors frontman Faris Badwan combine for a dance-floor affair. Badwan also features on the high-energy 80s synth-pop of Through Your Atmosphere. The euphoric Rejoice, meanwhile, bound by a leathery synth and vocal by longtime collaborator Rouge Mary, has all the hallmarks of a house stomper but ultimately falls flat when the promised drop never arrives. Are You Still Certain is a more contemplative house groove, as Butler weaves a signature bassline and strings with the beautiful vocal of Hamed Sinno of Lebanese five-piece Mashrou’ Leila. The initial urgency of Running is offset as layered vocals from Icelandic sister trio Sisy Ey take over, while long-time collaborator Gustaph features on the bumpy, synth-led Lies and epic album closer Epilogue, where the Belgian adds a human touch to robotic production.