Solvent Solvently One Listens

Solvent’s sophomore album is not harder, faster, or more intricate than 1998’s self-titled debut — and that’s just how Jason Amm likes it. “A lot of electronic artists think they have to one-up themselves every time,” Toronto’s Amm says. “That kind of thing is not important to me.” Amm is half the duo behind the Suction label and all of the humanity behind the machines of Solvent. What is important to him are the songs themselves. “I have a pop song mentality, so it’s more about perfecting the craft of the pop song, better arranging my tracks and creating stronger melodies, as opposed to getting more involved in the technology. I’m aiming at perfecting the pop song.” And that’s the refreshing result heard here. Yes, this is 1999’s electronic music, but it’s not frantic drill’n’bass or experimentalism for the sake of it. This is electronic music brimming with vigour, contemplative one moment, but bold and cheerful the next. Still, Amm’s music often gets lazily lumped into the IDM (intelligent dance music) camp, and that doesn’t make him happy. “That stuff is really leaving me cold now because I really do need melodies and structures and the things that came from the pop sensibility. I like things that are catchy and direct; I’m not really into abstraction.” There are a variety of moods and tempos on this full-length, but Amm ensures there’s always something memorable lurking at the heart of each composition. It’s a lesson learned from the techno-pop and industrial-dance that was the soundtrack of his youth. “Hearing electronic listening music like Aphex Twin and Autechre was like a revelation and it kick-started me into taking music-making more seriously. But once I started getting involved in it, my roots started showing through. I grew up listening to stuff like Depeche Mode and Soft Cell because that was the most electronic stuff I could find. That’s where I started and that’s where I hope to head in the future.” (Suction)