Remaining copies available at Norman Records
'Solos' consists of nine violin pieces. All of them use brief, improvised loops, and in doing so, Christopher Whitley somewhat paradoxically manages to create a massive world. The loops are burned into the recording, scarred by a plethora of digital static and a crawling distortion which eats away at the core of the world with its acidic texture. The violin, though, stands upright among it, remaining pure and untouched for long periods.
While loops are usually caged and contained, their gradual decaying and morphing sets them free. The music stretches out and becomes elongated, and Whitley produces a sound infinitely wider than its origins. Whitley investigates concepts of movement, decay, and delves into past decades. The bittersweet loops act as a compass, despite revolving around and around in lost, swirling circles, its points settling on the south as the music steps backwards and then flicking towards the north in its anticipation of the future. Distortion digs into the melody, growing as curious as an archaeologist with a shovel. The loops are only healthy thanks to the interference of reverb amid the delay and decay: these treatments balloon the sound world, turning it into something of an ambient juggernaut. The violin never takes advantage of its freedom, or descends into the pit of self-indulgence, which a lot of solos can dissolve into. Instead, it ushers out an emotional, slow-travelling melody; the violin muses, riffing on a note or two as it chews things over. Introverted and personal, the fragments erode in time and in tune with the changing landscape, their lifespan predetermined and selected specifically for their emotional prowess. As always, one note is enough. It’s always been enough.
Despite its expansive world, the violin remains softly-spoken, looking inward and ultimately revealing more of itself through its modest personality. The listener is asked to dig deeper: to find optimism within its pulse. The distortion can be romantic and rosy, or it can be cold and sharp. It cups the sides of the music, sculpting leviathans in the wake of its swirling, billowing breeze. One can feel it expanding, and although the melody repeats, seemingly trapped in a short loop, its long, echoing tails and strands help to release it. Solos is an album of growth and optimism.
Made by hand,
The design for this one is deeply personal and once again takes us back to times long forgotten including a beautiful selection of Bartholomew maps – each order comes with a rare complete map that details different locations in and around the UK, along with old negative photos and glass slides that relate to the location of the map, arming the listener with their own investigative tools. 'Solos' can be proud of its heritage...
Each package is completely unique with no two alike; They will include a complete 16 panel (circa: 1890 -1950) Bartholomew cloth bound map (blue series), vintage (circa: 1920 -1953) numbered glass slide, vintage (circa: 1925 -1953) photograph film negative, 2 x stamped mini CD's. All rests inside stitched / sealed glassine bags. Also includes patchouli scent and download code. Once again, this one is most definitely for the collectors. Only 150 copies for the world!
Music written, recorded and produced by Christopher Whitley
Mastering by James Plotkin
Design by Daniel Crossley