Sal Solaris - Die Scherben 2004-2010

Sal Solaris
"Die Scherben 2004-2010"

CD (ltd. 300)
ZHB-XXXVII


1. Rotten Reverie
2. Prometheus
3. In the Orbit
4. Class on Dreaming
5. Battle Swans
6. With Me
7. Rush
8. Pripadok
9. Start
10. Trepet
11. Out
12. I.U.z.M. (Art of Caring the Dead)

total length: 77:27
release date: November 23, 2013
price: €10

* bandcamp.com
* salsolaris.ru

kultFRONT and ZHELEZOBETON labels are glad to announce the new CD by one of the most outstanding Russian post-industrial projects - Sal Solaris. This release follows the logic of the "Der Ruf" compilation CD (2006, Der Angriff) and collects the tracks recorded at different times on various occasions. Among other tracks the disc contains compositions from the compilations "The Black Square" (2006, kultFRONT), "Iznutri" (2007, Ewers Tonkunst), "Rush for Black Celebration" (2008, kultFRONT), "Heliophagia III" (2009, Heliophagia), "Art of Caring the Dead" (2009, Dodozavr), "Heliolatria" (2010, Heliophagia), also tracks from the split 10" record with Stahlwerk 9 (2004, Der Angriff) and several previously unreleased compositions.

When describing the sound of Sal Solaris reviewers often mention the neologism "power ambient" and we can't but agree with this term. The music of this duet coming from Rostov-on-Don and Moscow combines the elements of dark, often space ambient, post-industrial and power electronics, a collage approach and a dense saturated atmosphere, not relaxing but rather stimulating the listener. A collection of works created during various years allows to trace the live dynamics of the project - from the austere ideological persistence of the "early National-Bolshevist period" to the more sculpturesque and psychedelic compositions, including some naive but remarkable exercises.

The works feature contributions from many band friends, including Russian cosmist writer Ivan Polikarov, lead artist of "Crazy Pierrot Cabaret" Sergey Vasilyev, piano player & composer Anna Antropova, decadent cynic and erudite DJ Deutschmark, master of noises Nikolay Lepesa, trombone player Seung-hui Cho and even Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovskiy.

The artwork is done by the famous visual artist and media philosopher Oleg 'cmart' Paschenko (http://holesk.in | http://www.conclave.ru).

With this CD kultFRONT & Zhelezobeton labels open the series named "Die Zeichen" aiming to publish the archival works of Russian post-industrial projects.



Reviews

Die russischen Industrial-Pioniere Sal Solaris melden sich mit einer Compilation zurück. Schon mit “Der Ruf” veröffentlichte man eine solche Sammlung, und auch in diesem Fall halt man eine Zusammenstellung aus bislang unveröffentlichten sowie raren Tracks bereit. Wenn das mal nicht ein unbedingtes Muss für jeden Verehrer dieser Band darstellt.

Im Grunde genommen braucht man auch keine Angst vor Enttäuschungen zu haben, denn die Akteure zeichnet schon immer Klasse aus, weshalb man Sal Solaris zur absoluten Spitze zählen muss.

Auf der CD “Die Scherben” findet man unter anderem Tracks diverser Sampler, Songs von der Split mit Stahlwerk 9 und die unbekannten Darbietungen “Prometheus” und “Pripadok”. Des Weiteren serviert man mit “Rush” ein Depeche Mode-Cover, welches einst auf dem russischen Industrial Tribute-Sampler “Rush For Black Celebration” verewigt wurde. Ebenso sind Beiträge von den Komponisten und Musikern Nikolay Lepesa, Ivan Polikarov, Sergey Wassiljew, Anna Antropova, Seung Hui Cho und Peter Tschaikowski zu finden. Dadurch ist das Resultat unglaublich variabel ausgefallen und man zeigt atmosphägrische Perlen, die teils in bedrohliche Dronen münden.

Auch gelungen ist die Tatsache, dass dieses Album nicht vorhersehbar ist – ein ruhiges Klavierspiel bahnt sich seinen Weg, cleaner Gesang ist vorhanden und dank zunehmender Dramatik schlägt das Ganze mitunter gar in Klassik um.

Nicht minder begeistern kann das bereits erwähnte Depeche Mode-Cover, welches die musikalische Offenheit von Sal Solaris präsentiert. Ähnliches taten die Musiker schon auf dem Rundling “Der Ruf”, auf dem man mit den letzten beiden Darbietungen ebenfalls fremdes Terrain betrat. Während diese jedoch nicht in das sonstige Klanggefüge passten, reiht sich das Depeche Mode-Cover gelungen ein.

Einen expliziten Track zu benennen, fällt in diesem Fall trotzdem schwer, denn es gibt nur funkelnde Diamanten, die den Hörer mit ihrer Atmosphäre in surreal anmutende Welten entführen. Mitunter ist auch ein spaciger Einschlag zu vernehmen, was hervorragend passt.

Obwohl “Die Scherben” kein neues Werk darstellt, so unterstreichen Sal Solaris abermals ihre unangefochtene Spitzenposition im Sektor des russischen Post Industrial, der mit Drones und finsterem Ambient veredelt wird und wahrhaftiges Kopfkino beschert – meine absolute Empfehlung!

blizzard, Necroweb.de.

Sal Solaris is 'one of the most outstanding Russian post-industrial projects', Zhelezobeton says, but I never heard of this duo from Rostov-On-Don and Moscow. That of course says nothing. The way this release starts made me think we are going to deal with some gothic music. Popular obviously, but not over here, in this particular, dark corner. I understand that this release is the first in a new series by Zhelezobeton and kultFRONT to 'publish the archival works of Russian post-industrial projects' and this collects rare pieces from Sal Solaris from the period 2004-2010. Pieces from compilations, sometimes never released and some of these are covers, such as from Sleetgrout (whoever they are) and Depeche Mode, or even an 'added-to' version of Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake' ; classical music with extra electronics. I must say I am a bit clueless about this release. It's not bad at all in a way. It has some nice dark electronic music, quite ambient most of the times. But there is also this undercurrent in the music that makes me think 'gothic', such as that Depeche Mode cover, which I can see go down well with the black crows/crowds, or when I read in the press text they have an "austere ideological persistence of the 'early National-Bolshevist period'", which sounds like them running around in military uniforms on stage. No doubt the dress-up aspect in important, but I can do without. A piece like 'Trepet' has that 'gothic feeling', but in other pieces this is absent and they are just creators of fine dark ambient, such as in 'Pripadok', with its voice sample from a movie. I have mixed feeling about this, but in the end I would give this the benefit of doubt.

Die Scherben is a collection of tracks that Sal Solaris has originally made for other records. Some of them have been published before, a couple have not. Style and quality differ strongly: for example, the opening, percussion-driven cover of Sleetgrout’s Rotten Reverie is slow, heavy and excellent, whereas Battle Swans, a Tschaikovsky deconstruction meant to be looped, remains just a one-trick pony. The most interesting stylistic contrast comes with Rush, a Depeche Mode cover that was one of the highlights of the tribute Rush for a Black Celebration. Most of the tracks are noise-based ambient, and I must say that for me personally, Sal Solaris seems to work better through these slightly different-style and different-time works, while the albums have left me somewhat uninterested. Not every piece here meets its mark perfectly either, but as a whole, things work well.

A good pick for those who like their ambient with a bit of a harsh edge to it.

Zhelezobetons’ fine array of releases is widened once more with a new release by the peculiar Sal Solaris. Compiled on this album are twelve tracks from various compilation albums, as well as previously unreleased music. Together they create a document that is sophisticated enough to challenge the mind of the listeners, yet meditative and sometimes even minimal.

This mind provoking mediation goes through heavy power ambience that draws its mark on the brain like an icebreaker ship through an unknown, frozen frontier. It then develops into a twisted blend of classical recordings and disfigured mental feedbacks that bombard the psyche with an almost shamanic overview over cultural nostalgia. Bombastic folk noir themes merge together minimalist power electronics and scorched remnants of distant vocals.

Even though most of this album was originally recorded and dedicated for various other compilation albums on several occasions, Sal Solaris manages to bring together a creation that sounds solid, distinct and as persuasive as an album that was thought of and recorded as one whole unit. Personally, I find the beginning and the end of this album to be more to my taste, but as a whole, this is one fantastic creation.

There are lots of industrial experimental bands on post-soviet area, blessed is a fertile soil for development of such a scene full of complicated political circumstances, natural inspirations and a hard lot of many people that are involved in it. Very often, music becomes not only a kind of "relief valve" for all the negativism and frustration accumulated by them, but also an opportunity to escape the everyday routine, contact brothers in arms and share with them the vision of creative freedom. One of the most significant names of Russian branch of experimental craftsmanship is Sal Solaris (direct translation is "salt of the sun"), a duo that's explored this field for more than fifteen years. These noble comrades became recognizable and important players on the international scene as well, especially with their last activity on Canadian based Cyclic Law label. But our conversation today is not about their contribution to "Einengrau" record; it will receive its detailed review on Brutal Resonance in upcoming weeks. Before this material saw the light during the first decade of 2014, Sal Solaris brought to our consideration a set of compositions from different periods of their highly productive career which was released by collaborative efforts of two famous Russian labels KultFront and Zhelezobeton.

I am sure that such highly abstractive genres like dark ambient raises completely different images for the majority of its fans while listening to the same albums, especially when many of them are crafted around a specific idea or theme. Somehow, the creation of Sal Solaris was always associated for me with post-apocalyptic worlds in the vein of Stalker stories of Strugatskiy brothers (see the note to this review). But I feel that there is no need to search for any kind of concept behind "Die Scherben" ("shards" ger.) because in this case we are talking about a compilation of tracks without any specific connection between them, at least this connection is unseen for me. Sharpen the sword of your judgment and prepare for a certain level of mood swings whether you like it or not.

Sal Solaris present more than 75 minutes of really diverse material to match the history of evolution and reveal the widest picture of their talent. "Die Schreben" contains twelve tracks of various genres, moods and tastes, from ritual dark ambient to neo-classic and even rhythmic noise; just choose your specific atmosphere and dive into it. You can walk a very tragic path of "Rotten Reverie" or bow to the ritualistic fires of "Prometheus", dwell in extraterrestrial signals and electronic waves of "In the Orbit" or dance to the distorted and industrialized sounds of Tchaikovsky with "Battle Swans". Russian speaking audiences will definitely enjoy "Class on Dreaming"; the track starts with a wide oppressive atmosphere and ends up with a massive piano guided song carrying a deep emotional impulse in its gentle and sensual words. Those of you who prefer more action can do justice to "Rush", an industrial remix of the famous Depeche Mode track that could adorn the best albums of Haus Arafna with its dirty minimalistic rhythm and heavily distorted vocals.

I should be honest and sign out two average tracks like "Pripadok" or "Start" where Sal Solaris didn't impress much, but there is some specific zest even in them and it sweets the pill for the listener to be able to reach a certain level of aesthetic pleasure. The music becomes noisier in "Trepet" gaining power from heavy electronic scratching sounds, but it doesn't lose a soft melancholic touch even while being quite rude in the beginning. "Out" presents machinery oriented hums with a wide background melody and "I.U.Z.M." finishes this album on the same note that it was started, tragic and dark, when the listener's personality sinks in complete desperation without any chance for salvation.

Those of you that keep an eye on my reviews could have noticed that I always try to dig into the very depth of each track, dismember it, smell and taste each chunk properly and digest it patiently. I had to spin this CD at least thirty or forty times to get the exact idea because of the diversity that I had mentioned above. But if you are tired from specific composition of this compilation, you can skip it safely without losing any story line. Each component can be played independently telling its own story, pressing its own buttons and manipulating with different, sometimes even opposite feelings. Once again, I think it doesn't work as a solid piece of album but it brings enough dark, passionate and sensual moments to meet expectations from such kind of a record.

P.S. A note to this review. Seriously, if you don't know who the fuck the Strugatskiy brothers, then you having a big hole in your industrial education. But it's not too late for you to discover.

Andrew Dns, Brutal Resonance

I have been quite fond of the material that has been released through Zhelezobeton and its sublabel Muzyka Voln; they have been consistently putting out solid dark ambient and experimental works, so I was interested to hear what this release would bring. I was unfamiliar with this project, but the label describes it thus: 'The music of this duet coming from Rostov-on-Don and Moscow combines the elements of dark, often space ambient, post-industrial and power electronics, a collage approach and a dense saturated atmosphere, not relaxing but rather stimulating the listener.' Sounds like a plan.

We enter this disc with ominous, plodding, methodical, slow moving soundscapes. This is what I expected from this label, so when we kicked into 'Class On Dreaming,' I was surprised to hear piano and male vocals that would not sound out of place with Black Tape For a Blue Girl. This then shifts to excellent dark ambient at around 8 minutes. 'Battle Swans' is a remix of themes from Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake.' I was very interested to see what Sal Solaris would do with this, since Swan Lake contains my favorite piece of music and if you're going to mess with something as iconic as Swan Lake, you'd better bring your A-game. It was good, but didn't really seem to push the envelope very much. With 'With Me,' we get some noisy experimental before kicking into a distorted remix of Depeche Mode's 'Rush.' Now I'm no spokesman for Depeche Mode, but I think that they might like what Sal Solaris has done with this, considering the fact that they chose to tour with Nitzer Ebb on their Violator tour. We finish out with more noisy experimental. Overall, this is an interesting compilation of work that demonstrates the variety of Sal Solaris's style. Although it doesn't hang together like a standard studio album would, it makes me want to check out more of their stuff, which is always a good sign for a retrospective of rarities. This album weighs in at around 77 minutes.

eskaton, Chain D.L.K.

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