The Mark of Excellence

Solar Year


> > Nov 27 2012

Solar Year - Waverly
By Cam LindsayMontreal is currently experiencing another artistic renaissance that has nothing to do with Arcade Fire. Thanks in large part to Arbutus Records (Grimes, Doldrums, TOPS), a new wave of artists both musical and visual have built a movement that has attracted a great deal of outside attention. Production duo Solar Year (Ben Borden and David Ertel) are one of those acts; they specialize in meditative sound collages constructed from pop, new age, Gregorian chants, ambient and electro influences. Their debut album, Waverly, is a definite mood piece where deep, brooding electronics and fluid vocals provide a hypnotic, often chilling atmosphere. Much talked about single "Brotherhood," an achievement in its own that was released by Arbutus as a single, features none other than Grimes murmuring noises underneath the static-y production and tranquil chanting of Ertel. His voice, in fact, is hardly traditional, as Solar Year incorporate it more like a texture, lithely overlapping it on chopped, tribal rhythms in "Night & Day," while stretching it to fill interlude "Currents." Comparisons to the Knife are hard to suppress, especially on the mutating components of "Pivot," but Waverly has a very consistent tenor that makes it a singular achievement, one that both creeps and soothes simultaneously.
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