Review Summary: Solipsism are a duo who explore different soundscapes in the electronica field, marrying floating melodies with machine-like beat precision
Herb Recordings is a label that is all about innovation, cutting edge programming, deft production and the exploration of fresh sounds in and around the electronica genre. It is important, therefore, that (Herb Owner) Craig Murphy, using his Solipsism guise, sets the standards and provides the benchmark for the rest of his stable to adhere to.
Starting of as a solo project, Solipsism has since evolved into a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Ed Drury, to the point that he is now a full-time member. Murphy, himself, counts Frank Zappa as his main influence and in collaborating with Drury, a man with unlimited musical knowledge, Solipsism can tap into the diverse and other-worldly nature of the prolific experimental genius.
"Electricity Flows In Squares" is the 3rd Solipsism release and is an experiment of dance music that gets your brain thinking, rather than your feet moving. In other words, don't expect dumbed down beats and half-hearted synths, this one is for the purists. Right from the outset, on "Bad Circuit" it's apparent that there is something different about "Electricity Flows..". The melodies are light and float in the mix, while they are contrasted by precise beat work. "Bending Light" reinforces these sentiments and sees the duo create a mixture of a euphoric melody, overlapped with twinkling textures, with robotic drum patterns
However, it is on tracks such as "Glass Rod" and "Electricty Flows In Squares" that this combination strikes the perfect balance. The former uses 3 or 4 psychedelic melodies that float, overlap and merge together, evoking images of space. This is contrasted with a series of harsh, mechanistic programming. These conflicting styles shouldn't work, but Solipsism pull it off and it's impeccable. The title track, meanwhile, employs the crisp production techniques of Bola, but are equally as innovative in their own right. The machine-like precision is intact as the etheral synths swell around it.
It's not all accuracy and precision, though, "Flying" is a hovering ambient passage, that shimmers with a warm, analogue soul, while "Plug Me In" comes across like an updated version of the "A Clockwork Orange" main theme.
"Electricity Flows In Squares" has an nostaligic feel to it, advancing on the themes explored by artists such as Bola, Autechre and Bochum Welt. The pristine melodies posses a real other-worldly quality and are perfectly contrasted by the accomplished, mechanistcic programming. It is an engaging listen that begs for an emotional response. In a word : Tremendous.