This was another album I bought out of the blue, just because of the label it was issued on. I had no idea who or what Sølyst was. The cover looked nice and threatening, in the finest possible way, but in the end, it was on Bureau B and I just went with it. As it turns out, Sølyst is the solo project of Thomas Klein, the drummer from Kreidler, a Düsseldorf-based Krautrock Moderne band who I should investigate. This is the second Sølyst album and I was curious how it would play out.
#11 • Sølyst: Lead GER CD 
- Glass Danger
The opener, “Pierbourg” is an awesome statement of intent. A relentless, rubbery bassline [not a million miles away from the one that drives Pink Floyd’s “One Of These Days”] is joined by acoustic drums and percussion to deliver a relentless motorik trancerok that is both gentle and yet firmly determined in its forward thrust. The delicate percussion that is interjected along with the gentle treated guitars and synths adds ambiguity to the minor key vamping; keeping it from being too foreboding. I love the percussion that sounds like garden shears clipping in time! Well, this was a delightful excursion for a drummer’s solo album! It couldn’t be more different from the tiresome cliché.
The pulsing, seemingly random synth waves of “Glass Danger” eventually converge into a tense, urgent groove with delightful clattering percussion offsetting the synth pulses. Drums eventually enter into the groove near the climax, along with what sounds like a tree full of cicadas adding their buzzing, insectoid percussion. Nice! The touches of dub in “Polar” add to its lyricism. The light touch throughout this album keeps it on the uplifting side while its forward rhythmic impetus never flags. This is not an album of heavy handed drumming. It really makes me want to experience what Klein sounds like in the context of Kreidler, who have a fairly long career of nearly 20 years.
The brief title cut is grounded with long, sustained organ chords that eventually manifest to contrast with the nimble, rolling percussion. I should mention that “Pierbourg” is the only cut here that exceeds 5:45. It’s nice to hear “serious” music that knows not to overstay its welcome. Percussion is king on the track “Magellan” which loses the synths and other instruments for a vibrant afro-groove; at least until the synths rise up for the droning coda.
The tense, pizzicato vibe of “Euphorica” is shot through with water dripping percussive sounds and tribal drumming that makes me recall the great track “Agassis” on Bel Canto’s “White Out Conditions” album. The overall vibe of this album is that of the Western mind coming to grips with a tribal sound that is cool and arid, rather than steamy and humid. It’s Europe meeting the fertile crescent of Africa halfway for a compelling fusion. Klein is a fantastic drummer with a great appreciation for groove and space over showmanship and technique. The rhythms here are compulsive and driving but they don’t bludgeon the melodies so much as pull them along for the journey. And it’s a journey well worth taking.
CONCLUSION: enjoy… a lot
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