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Solar-powered stage presence

Andrew Harley
Special to the Daily/Hillary Diltz From left to right: Eric Gould, Charlie Hitchcock, Steve Molitz and Darren Pujalet of Particle rock 8150 in Vail tonight at 10.
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It’s not tedious like particle physics. You don’t need to be versed in beam physics and accelerator technology; you will need appendages with which to tap or dance and possibly a head to bob when Particle soars at 8150 tonight at 10.

Fresh off a performance at South By Southwest – an indie rock-focused festival held annually in Austin, Texas – Particle musters a series of soundscapes that have the incessant energy of hard funk and groove music, accented with an electronic edge.



The word “soundscape” is used because it emphasizes the rich texture of the themes created by the musicians through well-versed wielding of their state-of-the-art equipment. When Particle’s soundscapes progress past the stillness of thematic introductions, they evolve into vehicles (the music swells powerfully) with the magnitude to dictate the audience’s intensity of attention.

However, the power of Particle’s music does not attempt to limit the audience’s imaginative freedoms.



Particle’s first studio album, which hit shelves on Tuesday, represents an accuracy-centric departure from their live show – which has more leeway regarding the length of musical statements.

“It was a really good learning experience. It was different for us because when you’re in the studio you have conflicting differences to when you’re playing live,” said Particle’s drummer Darren Pujalet. “You have to learn to say things in a much more concise manner. Whereas live you might have a whole chapter to say what you want; to get your point across. In the studio, you have to confine onto a paragraph to try and keep the listener/audience’s attention.”

The album pulls from the band’s fat quiver of live selections.



“It really has a nice flow to it. What we tried to do is represent – kind of chronologically – where Particle has come from and the direction we’re going. I would say our next album will probably be a grander departure from what we’ve done to date,” said Pujalet. ‘”7 Minutes Til Radio Darkness, part 2’ is our heaviest song. There are two parts to the song; the first part is fairly ambient and the second part is pretty heavy. But it’s pretty diverse (the album).”

Pujalet is no stranger to Vail, having some years living and working in the valley.

“In college I would come out – on my breaks – and flip burgers up at Wildwood, so I spent a couple months each winter out there,” said Pujalet. “I had a great time. We lived in employee housing, and we used to see shows at Gartons. I mean I saw so many great bands there over my period of time: Dave Matthews, moe., a lot of reggae.”

Particle put their show on the road in 2000, and in 2002 alone they put more than 150 shows under their belts.

“I would say for about eight years, I’ve been a professional musician. I pursued it during my time in Vail, but I was also going to school at the same time,” said Pujalet. “So, I would say I’ve really been professional for about six to eight years – I went to school and I played in bands the whole time, but not solely for a living.”

Particle has earned their name through long, powerful jams which have featured guests like Robbie Krieger of the Doors, Page McConnell of Phish and Stefan Lessard of the Dave Matthews Band.

“We really feed off the audience in kind of a cycle of live energy, and the energy reflects back and forth between the crowd and us. I think we really try to bring as much of a high-energy approach as we can.”

The band includes Pujalet, Eric Gould on bass, Charlie Hitchcock on guitar and Steve Molitz on keyboards

“We work really well together. We had an instant connection as soon as we started playing together, and when you’re on the road doing as many gigs as you are, it’s very important to have a strong connection,” said Pujalet. “Eric is really positive live, and he keeps really good energy. Charlie’s really good at matching lines and picking up on other melodies. Steve is really good at picking up on rhythm live. And, I would say that my strength is probably listening to the band as a whole and trying to help direct where we’re going and picking up on certain rhythms as well.

“I think it’s hardest – if you’re on top of the mountain – to push the drummer off because we play such a dominant instrument. And, we sort of do create the backbone that everyone relies upon. In that sense, we do have a pretty strong role in direction of where the music is going with dynamic and style.”

Particle plays 8150 tonight at 10, and Buckethead is slated to open.

AT A GLANCE:

Particle People

What: Particle

When: today, 10 p.m.

Where: 8150, Vail

Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at aharley@vaildaily.com.


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