Solus3 – The Sky Above the Roof

I must say all hails to Mr. Ian Blackaby for letting me enjoy Lunar Dunes’ great album From Above. If you’re wondering what the hell it does have to do with this review, well… er… Ian is also involved in this project, obviously.

Compared with Lunar Dunes’ music, Solus3′s music is a way different, and personally I found it difficult to get down to its core. But, with time on my side, the tried and true method of “listening the hell out of it” gave me satisfying results.

First of all, I hate labeling music. Yes, I find it kinda wrong, but after all, genre labels are the way of helping consumers…. well, mostly. But, you will not find here a strict genre label for this album, as I don’t want to fall under the PA’s influence and mark this as “eclectic prog”. If so, I could call it “crossover”, but that doesn’t have to mean a thing.

Solus3 is a trio (what a coincidence, Lunar Dunes is also a trio), that besides Ian Blackaby on bass features harpist and percussionist Julia Thornton (Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry) and Hamilton Lee (Transglobal Underground, UNITE, Lunar Dunes) on drums. Similarly to Lunar Dunes, Solus3 features other session musicians on their record, and they are: Stacey Clarke (editor: I thought Nick wrote “Stanley Clarke” at first, so I did a double-take) on vocals, Seb Hunter on guitars, Elii Geeba on vocals, Krupa on vocals, Sheema Mukherjee on sitar and a trumpeter James Williams. You couldn’t probably imagine that this trio, which blends avant-garde, atmospheric elements, fusion, a bit of prog and of course, unavoidable psychedelia, features a poem written by Federico García Lorca on the album. It’s Romance De La Luna, Luna, Luna. There’s also an arrangement of Vaughan Williams‘ song arranged through the title song, The Sky Above the Roof. The other five pieces are completely written by the band and these are developed as an improvisational journey through sounds.

The motifs that adorn The Sky Above the Roof, or if you prefer French Le Ciel est Pardessus Le Toit are from a wide spectrum and you can hear the oriental-ethnic structured parts, electronic, atmospheric harmonies, psyche driven sooundwalls which are interposed with an avant-garde approach and some essential free jazz  elements. You will probably notice some more.

Photo: Russell Bloor

If you don’t have any prejudices towards music, you should really give this album a chance and I’m sure that you’ll find something interesting. The Sky Above the Roof is meditative therapy, a diverse achievement which knows hoy to find pathways to its listener’s essence.


Tracklist:

01. Shapeshifter

02. B5 Bounce

03. Blow Harp

04. Sprezzatura

05. Romance de la Luna, Luna, Luna

06. The Sky Above the Roof

07. Mobius Trip

Line-up:

* Julia Thornton – harp, percussion, piano, vibes

* Hamilton Lee – drums, percussion, loops, piano, vibes, theremin, field recording

* Ian Blackaby – bass, backwords piano

with:

* Stacey Clark – vocals on The Sky Above the Roof

* Elii Geeba – vocal on B5 Bounce

* Krupa – vocals on Shapeshifter, Sprezzatura & B5 Bounce

* Seb Hunter – prepared acoustic guitar on Sprezzatura, Shapeshifter & Mobius Trip

* Sheema Mukherjee – sitar on The Sky Above the Roof

* James Williams – vocal on Romance de la Luna, Luna, Luna, trumpet on Romance de la Luna, Luna, Luna, The Sky Above the Roof & B5 Bounce

Links:

Solus3 official website

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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