Solstein by SolsteinRelease date: July 7, 2023
Label: Is It Jazz? Records
Born after Jacob Holm-Lupo and Keith Carlock who teamed up with guitarist Georg Wadenius (James Brown, SNL band, and Blood, Sweat & Tears) on a composition from Holm-Lupo’s Donner project, Solstein sparks the true foundation of jazz fusion to its core. Not only that, but the true fundamental elements of funk, and with a back to basic roots which is right down to the bone.
Jacob takes his listeners throughout a massive underworld as he, Stian Larsen, and keyboardists Brynjar Dambo and Bill Bressler on a transportation to a whole new world. ‘Southwester’ features a synth-like fanfare with mellotron steamboats, watery bass lines, smooth transitions, and changing pace to Bowie’s Low-era by channeling the instrumental compositions on Side B with ‘A New Career in a New Town’.
‘Siriusly’ is a train-chugging composition. The Stevie Ray Vaughan-like bluesy shuffle comes out of nowhere for a brief moment before Carlock puts in enough coal to make the train ride filled with ramming speed while ‘Oriental Folk Song’ moves into Lupo’s love of Steely Dan by continuing where Aja had left off.
It catches up with an alternative TV score that could have been used in the crime-drama series Miami Vice before taking cues from Terje Rypdal, Allan Holdsworth, and XTC. ‘The Night Owl’ meanwhile builds up this futuristic abandoned ghost-town filled with ambient sequences, post-rock, New Wave, and finishing up the final touches of the Donner project, one last time.
‘The Creeper’ is more of a Hancock approach as if he was making the production realms of Rush’s ‘The Camera Eye’ with a Gershwin twist. Solstein get down to business with some Bass-funk and highly arpeggiated synth birds floating into view.
When I think of the closing track ‘Hamada’ I keep thinking of Sonar’s arrangements, followed by minimalistic upbeats that’ll make you want to dig out records from Andy Votel’s Finders Keepers label. It has a traveling stasis by going through different landscapes of Indonesia, the ECM catalog, and a film-noir chase until the very end.
36 minutes of this bad boy is all you need to keep your energy levels up. Holm-Lupo has cooked up more strange experiments inside his laboratory. And Solstein is a fantastic joy ride.