ARTIST: Section Solo
ALBUMS: The Show Starts/Extrasolar
That's why its been so fun getting to watch him grow this music into what became The Show Starts. This album's only drawback are their length, I wish it were longer. I know a lot of reviewers say that, but in this case, clocking out after 9 tracks, I really feel it here. Which is why I was excited to pop Extrasolar, his follow up album, into my CD player so soon afterward.
Both albums present catchy and epic tunes ranging from electronic dance music (EDM) to orchestral. Solo even adds authenticity to his orchestral sections by adding a real cello, which he also played.
The recording and mixing are something to appreciate as well, and you can hear his skills grow between The Show Starts and Extrasolar. The track flow on Extrasolar is a step up especially.
Right from the get-go on the self titled track of The Show Starts, I could feel the beat. As an aside, I'd enjoy hearing someone rap to a few of these songs. Perhaps a rapper-collaboration could be in the works for Section Solo's next album (pretty please)?
I may be biased in favour of Section Solo's orchestral arrangement skills, but I think my favourite track from The Show Starts would be “Time Warp (Acoustic)”. It shows maturity, and raw talent that I think will really go somewhere. It reminds me a lot of some of Adrian Von Ziegler's Celtic arrangements, with an epic-movie-score mixed in. If nothing else, grab this song on iTunes, but I personally recommend picking up the whole album.
The synth square on “River of Time”, though Section Solo assured me it was simple for him to create, is one of my favourite melodies on The Show Starts. I love synth squares, and I think this one nails it with enough rhythm and “slide” to keep me bobbing my head.
I realize video game comparisons are a little over played when talking about electronic music, but “Midnight Run” really has that lovable video game sound, bringing back memories of Fury 3, which, considering that game was designed for Windows 3.1 and 95, dates me a bit. I love the variance and vibrato to the synths as the song progresses. By the way, if you like this song, you should check out Tobin Fox's electro-swing remix of “Midnight Run” which won SectionSolo's remix contest for it.
“Wide Awake” from The Show Starts and “Pulsar Planet” from Extrasolar both add a nice happy tone to what are both generally serious sounding albums. I could listen to “Pulsar Planet” on repeat for ages (in fact I have). “Bittersweet Battle” is quite something to hear, listening to the live-cello mix in with the electronic instruments so fluidly, the orchestral remix version was an excellent way to finish off the album.
Extrasolar boasts three collaborations: “Warp Drive (feat. Gabe Miller)”, “Gas Giant (feat. Abby Davidson)” and “Ice Planet (feat. All The Pretty Lights)” and includes me in the “thanks” section (thanks for that Solo)!
“Gas Giant” and “Ice Planet” confused me lyrically at first, and while I am not looking for depth on an album about outer space, I do think the poetic nature of these two tracks lyrics were originally lost on me unfortunately. He's Section Solo to explain:
“Gas Giant is basically telling a story about a civilization that's pretty much doomed because of various outer spacey stuff, and Ice Planet's lyrics are actually a poem by Robert Frost that (in my opinion) talks about how anger can be really explosive, or really cold and cruel, but both are equally as destructive.” - Section Solo
I love the eastern sound to “Ocean World”, which reminds of movies like Prince of Egypt. The whole aesthetic of Extrasolar plays out well, carrying the space theme on through a very compelling progression.
“Rock Planet”, like “The Show Starts”, would be perfect for someone to rap too. In the case of “Rock Planet” you can hear more of Solo's experimentation in technique, where he uses a bit of delay factor on the hi-hats. “Homeward Bound” finishes off the album with a nice blend of seriousness and bright-peppiness to satisfy both sets of listeners.
All in all these two albums show off some exciting parts of Section Solo's musical growth so far, while leaving room for future growth as well. You can pick up both albums on Bandcamp (digital or physical) and I would recommend doing so if you enjoy electronic music. If you aren't as in to that genre, you will at least want to check out the acoustic and orchestral songs.