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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.