ALBUM REVIEW | Solilians - Shin

a1760897817_16ARTIST: Solilians 

RELEASE: Shin

RELEASE DATE: November 18th 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Goodbye Better Records

'Solilians' are a Merrick, NY space rock ensemble that mix Hebrew vocals, ambient dub, and even shoegaze. They sound unlike anything I’ve heard in recent years, sounding as out there as some of A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s material. That only scratches the surface, because they throw in klezmer and horns too. To quote the press kit: ‘Solilians space drone dreams are the interstellar journeys of mystic seekers, mantra minimalism for the next generation. Benjamin Malkin's slow motion ambient dub prisms of klezmer melody refract Sharon Malkin's Mediterranean Hebrew beauty; while Gabriel Walsh's psychedelic sci-fi edge dances with Neptune Sweet's otherworldly cosmic majesty, all coming together on Shin, the four-piece's debut full-length (Think Stereolab slowed down to Stars Of The Lid).

The band got their start via the 7-inch soundtrack of The Binah Comics, a super-powers tale without violence that describes a woman sick of all the insanity and nuclear posturing surround­ing her homeland. A collaboration between Benjamin's writing and the great illustrator Ian Densford, The Binah Com­ics proved successful and Malkin put together his dream team of some of today’s best space rock minds to create ambient reflections of the comics. Starting off, there is 'Hine Ma Tov (Merc Yes Mix)' with horns, slow jam beats, and a droning aspect to it that invites and keeps the listener engaged. 'Hatikvah The Next Generation' retains the same mysterious elements, and it’s all about the emotion elicited, so the lyrics matter less than the music, at least for me. Its center is a drone and numerous voices move in and through the mix, leaving the listener feeling a bit unsettled. 'Lamedvavniks' exceeds eight minutes and is an interstellar journey into the heart of space. Vocals emanate from the creepy fringes of an event horizon, and immerse your ears in cosmic dream pop. This is music to be enjoyed over a great set of headphones and infinite time to let your mind expand and take it all in.

'Rev’s Gold' is much shorter and offers listeners a trippy sonic tapestry mingled with subdued vocals. It is music that takes you out of yourself, drawing you into a daydream. 'Hine Ma Tov' makes another appearance in the form of the Space Drone Dream Mix and this time it’s 13 minutes long! Prepare to float away into the ether. 'I Have Been, And Always Shall Be, Your Friend' takes its title from a Spock quote, and many hued layers of sound propel you straight in and you wish it would never end. Pulsating synths burgeon and grow in volume before it all comes to a dead stop. 'Planet Binah' may well be the centerpiece of this album, named as it is for The Binah Comics. It is another 13 plus minute journey, demanding that you stay present and experience its pulsating presence. The singer’s voice is submerged with synthesizers taking center stage. It all comes to a close with 'Post-Rev’s Reprise', a somewhat disquieting drone that winds down quickly. In short, this is album unlike anything you’ve heard this year, or any year for that matter. It is a fascinating and demanding work, but one that will reward you with repeated listens. Well worth seeking out for fans of international space rock laced with ambient dream pop.

4/5

LINKS:

Solilians.bandcamp.com

goodbyebetter.com

solilians.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

elizabeth

Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days "continues to define my existence". At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.


ALBUM REVIEW | Daniel Land - In Love With A Ghost

a3446439266_16ARTIST: Daniel Land

RELEASE: In Love With A Ghost

RELEASE DATE: November 25th 2016

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

The well-travelled transition of lo-fi, simple and sloppy production and mixing into well-produced, fluent and full production is often one that tends to place song writing, musicality and instrumentation at the background of importance. Bands and artists bath senselessly in the pool of sounding and appearing magnificent and sort of forget to be magnificent. A man who has somehow jumped this very preverbal shark is Daniel Land. His albums were never lo-fi per say, but his latest album In Love With A Ghost is so well produced and neat sounding that he seems to have made that aforementioned transition, and he has done so with style and talent on full display. A gracious and stylized effort, In Love With A Ghost throws a crisp nu-pop sound, alternative rock undertones, shoegaze melodies and the fantastically solemn tinkering’s of downtown jazz into one collective effort; ultimately it’s an album that demands to be respected in its substance, content and dazzlingly appearance.

In Love With A Ghost opens with the piano laden alternative pop tune ‘You & Me Against The Sky’ that showcases the spacy and impressive production that features on the entire album. The songs post-punk inspired double snare tap contrasts Lands soft voice which gives the song a beautifully dream pop aesthetic. This notion is reinforced with the synths that play throughout the chorus of the song and the piano that acts as the foundation of the song and instrumentation. The tracks greatest element is the saxophone that creeps in and plays in an appealingly whimsical style that eventually seeps into the outro; a beautiful and melodic piece of music. ‘Holes On the Dancefloor’ follows with a more electronic and soundscape tone similar to Lands previous recording efforts, but continues the pop sensibility expressed on the opening track by still incorporating the distant sound of piano. Land exercises his skill of writing catchy but alternative chorus lines and lyrics with the chorus on this very song; featuring a small but notable vocal performance that climbs in a reflective way to the instruments. ‘Everyone's Got A Guy Garvey Story’ continues the piano balladry style of the previous two tracks but in a more up tempo styling. The highlight of such a song is the clever lyrical content; featuring referential and introspective lines that dance along with the swinging, up tempo beat of the drums. While the following track, ‘The Sweetest Lover’ doesn’t quite connect the same way previous tracks do, one must admire what is actually going on in the song and the instrumentation. The swing style drum beats, the layers of guitar and perhaps most interestingly, again; Land’s skilful vocal delivery.

One of the highlights of the album is the fantastic, jazz inspired ‘New York Boogie-Woogie’ which melds Land’s instrumentation with a dreamy shoegaze styled soundscape in the background. The song plays along at its own pace; drawing a picture in your mind with Land’s lyrics and then the utterly skilled saxophone (in a tone reminiscent of the opening track) that joins the instruments in the outro. ‘Saints With His Mercy’ is the closest Land comes to complete and utter dream pop on the entire album; but this is a good thing. It offers a crossover of the musician’s pop aesthetic and the dream tones of keyboards and guitars that results in a dancehall style pop song… Yes, by dancehall I mean like borderline reggae; thus, the song sounds at times experimental in its wild mix of danceable drum patterns but husky and echoed elements of dream and shoegaze. The ultimate ballad, ‘Whistling Gypsy’ again displays Land’s mesmerizing vocal delivery, but this time offers a more minimalist backing; with distant, sliding guitars. Another top moment on the album is the outro to this song; beautiful, entrancing and somehow calming in its musicality.

The title track lends itself to a lengthy, shoegaze intro that melds into a swell drum machine pattern that crosses into the opening of ‘The Beautiful Room is Empty’; which rounds up all of the albums sound and song writing traits into one enthralling piece of music. Again, Land creates an outro that really one could not speak highly enough of if they tried.
In a way, this album is some kind of warped pop album, even an experimental pop album perhaps. And this very fact makes it an interesting listen… But let’s assume that it wasn’t so alternative; it would still be an engaging and greatly enjoyable listen. And this is where Land demands some kind of greater perspective or respect with this album; it is so *expletive word* difficult to make a pop album, whether that be pop rock, alt-pop, soft pop blah blah, that is different, fascinating and at least somewhat original that so many artists just end up drowning in clichés and step by step musical characteristics. Land’s album is obviously far from the delirious pop of the mainstream but it is a mostly pop orientated album whose songs centre on all things piano, drums and the art of the voice.

The production is top notch; clean, precise and echoed to compliment Lands vocals and the music’s distinct sound and style. Mixing is of a similar quality; every piece of string plucking, vocal chanting or murmuring and drum tapping can be heard in a polished and clean way; even when it is in the background of the song. Perhaps the greatest element of the album, beside the song writing itself, is the performances exhibited wherein. While all the instruments are truly brilliant, I feel Land himself delivers one of the best performances on the album vocally. This is a dreamy, original and somewhat experimental piece of pop music, built on the genius of performance, production, song writing and sound.

4/5

'In Love With A Ghost' gets it's full release on November 25th 2016 and is available to pre-order right now from: danielland.bandcamp.com

LINKS:

danielland.co.uk

facebook.com/daniellandmusic/

twitter.com/DanielLandMusic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

bio-pic

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.