Monday, May 08, 2006

Scott Solter

Download: Scott Solter - "Antique Brothers"

Scott Solter, known to many as studio wizard/right-hand man at John Vanderslice's studio, Tiny Telephone, will be releasing his second full-length album, One River, on May 30th, via San Francisco's Tell-All Records. Attentive readers of The 'Cropper will know that we've been big fans of Tell-All since they first burst into our lives with their awesome '05 release, May 23, 2007, by The Kallikak Family, and they've done it again with Scott's new record.

Composed primarily with processed guitars, One River, creates a hushed lull of ambience that pacifies without boring. The seven tracks that make up the record flow seamlessly into and out of one another in a way that make sense in light of the record's title.

I, myself, am a big fan of ambient music, and find this to be one of the most interesting ambient records I've heard in a while. However, I'm also dreadful at explaining why I like certain pieces of ambient music and find others terribly boring. All I can say, is that Scott's songs do it for me, and now thanks to the power of the mp3 blog, you won't have to suffer through any further attempts for me to describe what you can hear perfectly well for yourself.

Finally, I'm all about trying to get people to post more comments on this blog, so please do feel free to tell us what you think of the track posted here. We had great response to my last call to arms (6 comments, 4 of them real!), let's keep it up 'croppers. So yeah, what do you think of the track? How do you best evaluate ambient music? We can talk about the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which nobody seems to wanna look at? We're down for whatever.


like a eagle said...

there's a few ways...
1. you can talk about what makes up the music it just drone? or is it drone made of electrified guitars, or processed flute and violin, or perhaps layers of tape delay (see Eno's Discreet Music), is it all synthesizer...

2. how does it feel? is it moving? is it staying in the same place? does it end the way it started? do the dynamics change? do parts get more dense or sparse?
if there is repetition how often does it occur?

3. does it feel close or distant? (much of kallikak's work feels super close, whereas this song by scott sounds like it might be happening the next county over)

4. is it reminiscent of another work that someone might be familiar with?

5. would you rather listen to this while you are trying to wake up in the morning and the sun is peeking through your window? or would you put it on during a lunch break to train to get your brain moving at the pace you want it to move it (not the pace your co-workers want it to move)? or would you put it on at the end of a long day for some quiet reflection before floating away into dream land?

6. is this background music or is it foreground music? as in, could i focus on it and think about it musically or should i just put it at a decent level and leave it alone....

7. of equal importance...what do you imagine when you hear it? does it put you in another place? what's that place look, feel, smell like?

this track is real good.

jonpolk said...

Damn, Like a eagle, that's some serious commenting. Let that be a lesson to you other 'croppers, more comments like like a eagle's. Next time, I think I'll let you do the initial posting. I'll respond by answering 2,4, and 6.

2) It's moving, but the interesting thing about this record to me is that, while it moves, it will sneak back in on itelf, returning to a familiar place. The Tell-All guys spoke about an 'undertow' throughout the piece, and I think it's a very apt metaphor. There's movement away from the center on the surface of the songs, but it curls back under it all.

4) The fact that it's so heavily based on processed guitar, in addition to its overall feel, makes Keith Fullerton Whitman's, Multiples a good reference point. Not to keep it confined to the Kranky catalog, but Stars Of The Lid are an extremely useful comparison to my ears.

6) This is one of the best background records I have. This isn't to say it can't stand up to foreground scrutiny, but I've become quite interested in what this record can do to my space when I put it on and forget about it.

Like a eagle, for your eager participation, you've won yourself a copy of Scott Solter's, One River. All I ask is you allow me to reciprocate for the Tell-All guys when you get that new Shedding record ready to roll?

like a eagle said...


absolutely :)