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SOLUS3

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Solus3 biography
It seems there's a new wave of progressive music emerging in last few years - the style that could be described as ethnic/acoustic/folk music, with deep forays into world fusion with plethora of authentic instruments, but incorporating touches of jazz, perhaps electronic landscapes and occasional rock mannerism. SOLUS3 is not an exception; and yet they're highly original being both complex and sublime at the same time.

The core of the band is a trio of Julia Thornton on percussion and harp (she was collaborating with Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry), Hamilton Lee (of TRANSGLOBAL UNDERGROUND fame), and Ian Blackaby (Lunar Dunes) on bass.

Occasional musicians contributing to SOLUS3 output are Krupa and Sheema Mukherjee (again TRANSGLOBAL UNDERGROUND), Canadian soprano Stacey Clark, guitarist Seb Hunter, throat singer Elii Geba and trumpeter James Williams.



Sources:
http://solus3.com/
http://www.myspace.com/solus3

Solus3 official website

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Sky Above The RoofSky Above The Roof
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SOLUS3 discography


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SOLUS3 top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 3 ratings
The Sky Above The Roof
2010
3.64 | 24 ratings
Corner Of The World
2011

SOLUS3 Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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SOLUS3 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Corner Of The World by SOLUS3 album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.64 | 24 ratings

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Corner Of The World
Solus3 Eclectic Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars SOLUS 3 is a relative newcomer to the UK indie scene. They didn't stir up much commotion so far but the potential of their trip-hop nu.jazz mix could change that in the future. I'd say they will have to work on their songwriting though, both in terms of variation, depth and memorable moments

The album starts with the easy-going trip-hop of 'Unfold', in a style very close to MASSIVE ATTACK's 1994 album 'Protection', but substituting the samples with some cool and airy spacey-jazz musicianship. This adds a resemblance to NO-MAN, specifically their album 'Returning Jesus'. A good start, nothing new under the sun but nicely executed, one for fans of new-age-y trip-hop.

'Tricked by a Monster' continues the mood, with a lazy dub rhythm and prominent acoustic/reverb effects on the vocals. This album is a production marvel for sure. The vocals get more expressive reminding me a bit of TRICKY's "Maxinquaye", be it less experimental unfortunately. The supporting male rap vocals are low and whisper-y, completing the TRICKY resemblance. Nice touches of harp and Rhodes let in that new-age-y vibe again.

By the end of the second song, the album starts losing momentum and the instrumental "Lollardy" is the last song that fully convinces before the album starts dragging on for another half hour, continuing the same old dub pace, similar melodies and no change whatsoever in the arrangements compared to the preceding songs. Due to the lack of memorable moments, the interesting impression of "MASSIVE ATTACK on spacey jazz herbs" gradually fades to an anonymous and unremarkable listening experience. The band has their sound just right but they lack the guts to further explore and experiment around it.

I can't exactly see the Eclectic Prog in this, let alone the Prog. The band tag their music as "post-jazz post-punk chamber dub" which is a neat description of what it is: trip-hop with some nu.jazz touches, and this album could be the result of MASSIVE ATTACK teaming up with a nu.jazz artist like H.P. MOLVAER. It sets a nice groove and mood but it lacks the songwriting excellence of the former as well as the more daring and exciting improvisational side of the latter. Overall, nice trip-hop-light but not impressed at all. 2.5 stars

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 Corner Of The World by SOLUS3 album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.64 | 24 ratings

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Corner Of The World
Solus3 Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars What a nice surprise ! I have been listening to and really appreciating this album since I received it some weeks ago from Ian Blackaby in the band.

The music here is not my normal fare. The band has named it post-jazz in the interview, published in August this year. I have just started to listen to jazz so post is a bit too early for me. But when listening to this album, I fully understand what they mean by post-jazz.

The music is trippy, spacy post rocky jazzy electronica with female vocals on the top, being the soloist. The vocals feels improvised and is probably improvised in the studio too. It feels like this is the music John Coltrane and Miles Davis would had done if given the computers and the electronics. That is, if they had recorded their stuff in 2011.

The vocals are excellent and the music too is great. There is no doubts this is a truly wonderful album although the music here feels a bit alien to me. I am not dialled into post-jazz......... yet. But there is no doubts this album is among the best albums released this year. It is highly recommended !

4.25 stars

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 Corner Of The World by SOLUS3 album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.64 | 24 ratings

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Corner Of The World
Solus3 Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars 5 stars from Ivan Melgar is something worth following up on--and I did. Found "Corner" on Bandcamp and have been listening to it three times over now for the past two or three hours. This is awesome stuff--eclectic in the truests sense of the word as SOLUS3 has drawn from so many musical styles and influences to make this album of amazing music. I'd have been more prone to place this one in the space/psychedelia category, though. It is so wonderful to hear the harp being used more and more in prog (also prominant in Frequency Drift and SKE's releases this year), and here it is an essential and usually central instrument of all arrangements--though the interplay between harp, bass and drum are truly the most compelling and interesting element to these jazzy spacey jams.

"Unfold" (9/10) is so SOUIXIE AND THE BANSHEES (her unparalleled cover of The Jungle Book's "Trust in Me") BRAINTICKET, Popol Vuh, Amun Düül II, and, now Vespero.

"Tricked by a Monster" (9/10) Many times on this LP am I tickled to hear some Reggae sounds: here the bass, occasionally guitar chords or percussives. Guest singer Jemma Freeman brings so much Donna Summer-like soul to this space jam. Awesome trip!

"Lollardy" (9/10) takes us on a totally different trip: an industrialized harp-bass and trumpet trance dance; part "Blade Runner Blues," part 21st Century MIles Davis, part Celtic funeral march, this is a song unlike any you have ever heard.

"Corner of the World" (7/10) returns us to a kind of Reggaed Soul II Soul jam--just as S2S used to do to us, it's filled with cameo appearances of all sorts of totally unexpected instruments, sounds, tricks. As amatter of fact, the only thing fairly 'normal' in this song is--surprise!--the rather straightforward drumming! Love the wild harp playing around 4 minutes in!

"Porn Jam" (7/10) again brings me back to BRAINTICKET--especially the voice of pleasure and ecstacy Krupa here pulls off. Etheric and angelic, yet sultry and very sexual. Weird horn/synth at 3:00 kind of 'ruins the mood' a bit. Nice groove from the bass, drum & harp rhythm section.

"Reich" (9/10) is my favorite. It is mesmerizing and hypnotic yet the bass and harp inter-playing are so fascinating. Very Celtic- New Age yet entirely jazz-fusion--especially thanks to surprises at 3:00 (Japanese koto-sounding harp section) and synth-saw at 5:00. (There is an unfortunate period where rapid percussive beat land harp and bass lose their entrainment. Just enough to 'awaken' the listener from his/her blissful transport. Quite reminiscent of the amazing Eno "Ambient 3: Day of Radiance" Laraaji album.

"Pumori" (9/10) reminds me of a beautifully drawn out, free form version of Jazzmaster 4 PAUL HARDCASTLE & HELEN ROGERS' "Emerald Starldust." Love the "Shhh!" and "You can go to bed now" after the 9:00 mark. Outstanding fade out/end.

Wow! What can I say! A totally unexpected trip (four times continuously now!) The only thing missing is the pleasure den. Oh, well. Great music, great creativity, great album. Not sure this is a prog masterpiece, though it is a masterpiece of progressive creativity. 4.5 stars rated up for its delightful unexpectedness.

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 Corner Of The World by SOLUS3 album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.64 | 24 ratings

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Corner Of The World
Solus3 Eclectic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars A few days ago received "Corner of the World", the latest SOLUS3 album by courtesy of my friend Ian Blackaby bassist of LUNAR DUNES, already had heard and reviewed their first release "The Sky Above the Roof", so I knew what to expect, but this guys still surprised me.

SOLUS3 is a relatively new band formed with four members of the Psychedelic LUNAR DUNES (Ian Blackaby, Julia Thorton, Krupa MaNomay Pattni and Hamilton Lee) plus Francesco Filizzola and a couple guests. This curiosity is what makes this album more Surprising, being that two bands with almost the same members, have such a different style, genre and atmosphere without allowing the quality to suffer.

Being that I received the album before it was officially released, and I don't like to review albums before they are in the market, had enough time to listen it carefully, and even when I knew their style from the first release "The Sky Above the Roof", the excellent "Corner of the World" caught me by surprise, because in a year, they have evolved and reached a maturity that would take much more time to most bands.

The album starts with the Spacey, atmospheric and Jazz oriented "Unfolded", where the delicacy of the piano and harp is enhanced by the beautiful voice of Krupa MaNomay in a delightful contrast with the percussion, trumpet and sudden throat singing explosions by Francesco Filizzola. The atmosphere is absolutely oneiric, like some sort of PINK FLOYD playing in a 1950's cabaret, a solid start for a solid album.

"Tricked by a Monster" is the only track of the album where the guest vocalist Jemma Freeman adds her tougher and dramatic voice, creating a Blues & Spacey sound, again the rest of the band is impeccable with the addition of Larry Whelan in the keys and sax.

"Lollardy" is one of my favorite tracks, even when the style is as usual jazzy and atmospheric, this time the piano shares the lead with the harp, while the trumpet hiding in the background adds a melancholic touch. The bells effect is just the cherry at the top of the pie, another extremely beautiful musical piece.

"Corner of the World" begins with an almost tribal introduction where the vocals and percussion are simply impressive. now the Jazzy edge has been replaced by some sort of oriental ambient supported by percussion and the strong bass of Ian Blackaby....Jazz, Space Rock, Psychedelia and Ethnic in one album, SOLUS3 is by far one of the most versatile bands I ever heard.

"Porn Jam" is an intriguing song, starting by the name and ending with the mysterious vocal performance of Krupa using her voice as an instrument instead of singing words, don't ask me about styles, moods or genres, because I doubt anybody can answer this properly, it's just beautiful Prog music that can't be pigeonholed in any category.

"Reich" reminds me a lot of "Tubular Bells" by MIKE OLDFIELD, the richness of the instrumentation with the constant variations on one theme, adding a new instrument each time a passage is repeated is absolutely fantastic, specially because few bands use harp so massively as OPUS3. I don't know if the band intended this, but in some sections reminds me of Venezuelan harp music....A real box of surprises.

The album ends with "Pumori", an 11:00 minutes epic that I won't even try to describe, because the way Jazz, Melodic Prog and Space rock mix with ethnic influence is created to be listened and descriptions can spoil the listening experience, just will say that it's a fantastic expression of talent, imagination combined with brilliant arrangements and some unexpected or even shocking passages.

It's obvious for this reviewer that SOLUS3 has developed incredibly since the already excellent "The Sky Above the Roof", which I rated with 4 solid stars, so I have no alternative than to give the next logical step and rate "Corner of the World" with 5 stars, being that it doesn't have a single weak moment that reveals a obsession with perfection with constant variations and brilliant arrangements.

Giving this rating to an Eclectic band with Jazz elements is not normal in me, because Symphonic Prog is my real passion and obviously I enjoy more this genre, but I wouldn't be fair if my musical preferences stopped me to give a perfect rating to an album that clearly deserves it, no matter what genre it's ascribed to.

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 The Sky Above The Roof by SOLUS3 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.95 | 3 ratings

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The Sky Above The Roof
Solus3 Eclectic Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Solus3's debut album, The Sky Above the Roof, is a beautiful piece of music, in unexpected ways. The music sounds to me like jazzy inflected world music with a rock edge. The instrumentation is quite unique, relying on percussion, a harp, theremin and backwards piano (I'm not even sure what the last one is), on top of loops, an actual piano, and bass. The music has several guest vocalist appearing on different tracks, who are mostly female but there is a male throat singer on "Romance de la Luna, Luna, Luna".

Whenever I put this album, it immediately puts me in a good mood - it is one of those albums that has that power - while at the same time making me feel relaxed. This really is great music to play and just lounge around to. The drum layers are often repetitive, allowing you to get into the groove of the different layers of music and just enjoy the soothing sounds of the music, like the harp and the vocals.

To me, this album strikes me as a rather original one as well, for I've yet to hear another album that uses quite this combination of instruments, or molds quites the same genres together, and so on top of the nice, relaxing feel I get from the album, there's also that sense of discovery.

My favorite tracks would be the second (B5 Bounce) - the chorus (I turn the music up) just always puts me in the right mood, and it really is quite lovely - and the aforementioned "Romance de la Luna, Luna, Luna" - the throat singing really gives it a unique, romantic feeling.

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 The Sky Above The Roof by SOLUS3 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.95 | 3 ratings

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The Sky Above The Roof
Solus3 Eclectic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

4 stars A couple months ago I received from Ian Blackaby (Bass on Lunar Dunes) a copy of the first SOLUS3 release called "The Sky Above the Roof", as soon as I listened it, was obvious for me that the music was not Symphonic, so asked the Folk Prog, Fusion and Eclectic teams to check them, being that such music shouldn't´ be left away from Prog Archives.

Today I found they were added to Eclectic, which is a great decision, being that their music is a delicate blend of Folk and Fusion, with a hint of Psyche and even Avant Garde, so any individual sub-genre wouldn't be able to capture the versatile mixture of sounds, atmospheres, styles and moods except Eclectic which describes bands "that trespass the boundaries of established Progressive Rock genres". So being accepted, the next step is trying to review the album, an almost impossible task due to the extremely bizarre beauty of the music.

"The Sky Above the Roof" starts with the mystic introduction in which the harp of Julie Thorton and the voice of the soprano guest Stacey Clarke capture the magic of oriental ethnic sounds.

"B5 Bounce" sounds like some sort of Electronic ethnic music with an excellent combination of instruments and voice, the subtle bass, wind instruments and efficient percussion add a touch of Arab music, even when it may seem simple for some listeners, I would love to see them trying to produce something so magical in an apparently improvisational performance.

Without loosing the ethnic atmosphere, "Blow Harp" presents us a more aggressive approach of the band, the drums and bass take the lead and the surrounding instruments create the scenery, incredibly beautiful and free.

After the gentle introduction "Sprezzatiura" takes us to Free Jazz territory without loosing the mystical atmosphere so characteristic of the band, the piano, drums and bass interplay is simply out of this world. The amazing thing is that this is not the type of album I would buy, but can't stop listening it.

Due to my mother's love for García Lorca literature, I'm used to listen his poems read with a flamenco guitar background since I'm a kid, but "Romance de la Luna Luna" by SOLUS3 breaks my schemes, the ethereal music and the poem read with such a strong accent is hard to expect, but I like it, just called my mother to tell her there was García Lorca Prog and she just can't believe it.

Now it's turn for the title song, an extremely weird combination of harp and vocals jazz oriented Celtic music (if such thing exists), please don't ask me to describe it because words are not enough, just believe me when I say it's extremely beautiful.

The album ends with "Moebius Trip", seems to me like pure jamming, like some sort of extremely free Avant Garde combined with Psychedelia, but as usual the mysterious atmosphere is captivating.

Again, I won't even try to pigeonhole the music of SOLUS3 in a determined sub-genre, I will only say that I like what I listen and that it deserves 4 stars, if you are ready to take the risk with music that breaks schemes.

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Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition. and to toroddfuglesteg for the last updates

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