My Life In Records
Ragged Words CANNOT get enough of Solar Bears and their masterful September-due full debut She Was Coloured In, and well we're just gonna keep on featuring the guys until you can hear just how good a record it is too .Having spoken to them a couple of weeks ago and given away an exclusive track from the album, we're marking the release day of the pair's debut EP Inner Sunshine by welcoming Solar Bear John Kowalski to talk us through his 'Life In Records'
This was the first music I ever bought. It was a cassette and I rushed home to listen to it in full. I had seen her videos on MTV and I wanted to hear more. ‘Hyperballad’ was literally on repeat for days and days. Another standout track is ‘Enjoy’ which still has enormous gravitas. Much like her acting, her performance is pure feeling. I admire her very much. Her photography and artwork are equally memorable. A maverick and an unparalleled changeling.
Repetition to the point of psychosis. It has so many amazing riffs and it still puzzles me even though I have heard it hundreds of times. I think it has become a milestone and really influential, especially these days. Both of the guys in the band are gifted. How they keep things to the bare essentials and symphonic at once is a total mystery. I am also a big fan of Electroma, their silent film.
After Dummy and all the talk of Trip Hop they came back with this, which is just mind blowing. I do not see how it could be improved. When I heard ‘All Mine’ in my friends house I was utterly captivated. Adrian Utley gets the most beautiful guitar tones. The band are bit of a dream team in fairness. Beth Gibbons is a siren. In terms of emotion, this collection is a real trip.
Richard Fearless is probably the single greatest influence on me. His use of sound and repetition had an immediate and long standing effect. He is a big fan of Krautrock which I have gone on to research and listen to avidly. The Contino Sessions is broken down, diverse and highly immersive. Everything offers a different shade and colouring. I am addicted to the melodies and the simplistic use of bass lines.
I had heard ‘Swastika Eyes’ and ‘Kill All Hippies’ and I had to buy it. Has to be one of the loudest albums in existence, I believe the mastering engineer even said as much. More than likely my favourite record and it did not leave my disc man for 2 years straight. The final number ‘Shoot Speed/Kill Light’ is stone cold genius, so inspiring on ever level.
Before the internet, late night TV was one of the best ways to find new bands. The song ‘Run Into Flowers’ came on and within 5 seconds I knew I had come across a brilliant group. It had every element I was looking for combined. The harmonies were lush and the mix of sound was superlative. I had an almost electromagnetic reaction to the compositions, bit of synesthesia. The entire album is cinematic and epic in scale yet internal. Pretty rare.
Hands down the best thing I chanced upon last year. It is really dynamic and subtle. Track three, ‘All The Flowers’, is scientifically a perfect love song. In fact the whole album is lean and direct but it goes supernova by the finale. Imagery is prevalent throughout and it gets a deep emotional response from start to finish. I was really into his previous output but Ambivalence Avenue shows all his skill in full. Really looking forward to his next one. Certainly a mentor.
A Warp retrospective dvd featured one of their videos. I think it was for ‘Papercuts’. From that, I got all their LPs. Tender Buttons is by far the most stripped down and direct of them. The lyrics are from automatic writing and are primarily about her nursing her dying father. Painfully honest and heartfelt. I kind of look at the group as modern wizards whereby they have some otherworldly ability to cast spells. Her voice is hypnotic and soothing in equal measure. Good starting point for those who are new to the band.
An album that caught me off guard and really surprised me. A prime example of minimalism and a lesson to those who flood arrangements unnecessarily. Gorgeous soundscapes and eerie vocals result in a striking album. I absolutely love the final song. I can revisit Silent Shout at any stage and the clarity is something that impresses me more than anything.
Without question one of the top releases of last year. Total juggernaut. Very good use of repetition and layering. I saw them live with a girl named Abbey and we were in our element. If I was a director I would write a scene simply to use the song ‘Olympians’ as it has raw power to burn. Very filmic in nature.