Born at the end of 2006 in the science city of Jena, Germany, from an idea of Nico Jagiella (SLF) and Robert Witschakowski (The Exaltics), Solar One Music started to spread its music soon after releasing “Ten Million Light Years” by The Exaltics (www.the-exaltics.com). It was a USB Stick with a full flash based application, like a mini website (and then re-issued as a limited CD-R). It contains three tracks (“Ten Million Light Years”, “What’s Wrong”, “High Voltage Accelerator”) and a version of the main track remixed by Kan3da.
Right from the very beginning, the label’s mission reveals itself thanks to dark electro sounds reminiscent of Detroit techno sounds. Robert uses analog dry beats along with warm pads to create a cinematic alien atmosphere that sounds like humans should fear a new threat.
Crotaphytus (www.myspace.com/crotaphytus) is the second band to be signed by the label and it’s a duo formed by Nico and Robert. “The Bite of the Reptiles EP”, like all of the first eleven releases on the label, is a limited to 100 CD-R copies with special customized packaging (in this case a metal box) and contains five original tracks (“Crotaphytus Theme”, “Rhynchocephalia”, “Sauromalus Obsesus”, “Sceloporus Malachiticus” and “Varanus Acanthurus”) plus an intro by The Exaltics and four remixes by Aliensextoy, Komarken Electronics, Franck Sarrio and CPU. The release, besides its menacing imaginary of a hungry giant reptile looking for food, offers cinematic instrumentals with electro influences and dark obsessive sci-fi atmospheres with some musical references to the “water sound” ambience of Drexcyia.
“Strange Tales from the Future Vol.1” is the third Solar One Music release and it’s their first compilation. On this one you find three tracks by each of the following artists: Antizero (www.myspace.com/antizeronow), CPU (www.myspace.com/cpuberlin), Komarken Electronics (www.myspace.com/komarkenelectronics) and The Exaltics. Antizero tracks sound like they’re coming from a cool electro record with deep filtered vocals, bouncing bass lines and dark atmospheres. After their debut, the Exaltics started to also release their music on other labels such as Z-bop, Transient Force, Militant Science, Bunker Records and Last Known Trajectory and in doing so offered more of their minimal experimental electronic sounds made of chirping sounds, analog pads, syncopated rhythms and electro bass lines. Komarken Electronics are from Sweden and released a CD-R on Stilleben Records in 2007, their electro style is ready to make you die happy thanks to bouncing bass lines, upbeat rhythms and spacey synth pads. CPU didn’t have any prior releases, since they had only participated to compilations, but “Return to Aquacity”, “Landorian Deepseaterraforming” and “BX-3” are really good tracks that span from Detroit techno to electro with fat bass lines.
Next Solar One Music, being true to their motto “something different, something special”, released a new Crotaphytus EP (their release #3.5). This time Nico and Robert for the four tracks of “Feed Meeeee E.P.“ focused on fast obsessive tunes with minimal structure and aggressive atmospheres which turn kinda exotic on the final track (try to imagine yourself in a primitive jungle trying to avoid being the Crotaphytus’ meal).
The fourth label’s release is another compilation, but this time each of the eleven bands involved get only one track each. Packaged in a metal box with an exclusive pin inside, “SOM Compilation Vol.1“ presented tracks by Aliensextoy & X-Beat, AS 1, Clatterbox, Equitant, The Exaltics, Franck Sarrio, Gab.Gato, Goliath, Impakt, Lightyear, Sprawl and SLF. The tracks span from the experimental techno by Exaltic, Clatterbox, Goliath, Sprawl, AS1 to the electro sound of Impakt, Gab.Gato passing through the electro experimental extravaganza by Lightyear, just to name few.
The Raw Mechanics (www.myspace.com/rawmechanics) / Crotaphytus split CD is the fifth release and it opens with “Cycle Of Life”, an atmospheric tense mid tempo. The second track follows a similar path, with a tense atmosphere and synth pads. Arnold Steiner, a.k.a. AS1 and boss of Transient Force, did a great job creating this with Robert and Nico. They started the album with minimal atmospheres which sound full of pathos where mid tempo rhythms and tiny melodies sound like a good soundtrack for a horror movie. After a couple of tracks each, the atmosphere changes and techno rhythms take a hold turning it into a sort of psychedelic electronic vertigo. Obsessive atmospheres will make you feel dizzy until the electro tune titled “Y3” (a collaboration between Crotaphytus and The Exaltics, a sort of short circuit, since Robert is in both the projects). Two remixes close the release: Faceless Mind (www.myspace.com/facelessmind) remixing “Cold Nights” and Manasyt (www.myspace.com/manasyt) who turned “Tracheloptychus” into an electro experimental looping tune with minimal noisy variations.
AS1‘s (www.myspace.com/as1electro) “Man verse Machine” (a.k.a. “MVSM”) is the sixth release on the label. This time it is a proper album with eleven new tunes and a remix of “Lets be honest” reworked by
The Exaltics (obsessive and robotic, it kept the original atmosphere but changed its skin). On this album Arnold plays with Detroit techno influenced experimental electro which recall Arpanet (thanks to cool melodies and filtered vocals) on tracks like “In the End”, “Reflective Reflection” and “Tinman Boogie”. Arnold also plays with industrial atmospheres on the metallic “Pounding Steel”.
Galaxian (www.myspace.com/galaxian), Impakt (www.myspace.com/impakt), Lightyear (www.myspace.com/lightyear) and Manasyt are the bands featured in “Strange tales from the future Vol.2” with three tracks each. Impakt is the project of Jørgen Indal, a guy from Norway who released a 12″ in 2008 for Breakin’ Records and has a freely downloadable album at Envmod. His tracks reminded me a bit of early Luke Eargoggle but more electro. His style is dark and melodic with dry sounds and bouncing rhythms. All the way from Sidney, Lightyear, produced three tracks which sound dark and exotic at the same time (a sort of dark Miami electro) and have just released their debut EP which is available in digital format (7digital is the cheapest place I found) and as 12″ on Bang Gang. You should already know Manasyt as they have quite some release in their discography. On this compilation Petar provides us with three tracks of electro obsession with syncopated rhythms and fragmented looping synth sequences. I know Galaxian from the tracks he released on Black Montanas and here you can find three fast tunes which seem to have be recorded during a live session as they tend to be hypnotic (a bit acid) with alternation of rhythms and quirky sounds. Sprawl‘s (www.myspace.com/plasmek) “Mechanic Phunk“ is the eight release of the label. Project of an Italian guy called Andrea Benedetti (he just finished writing a book about the history of techno music called “Mondo Techno”) who released four 12″ during the 90’s on Plasmek (his own label). After some years of inactivity, this album delivers ten new tracks of acid techno with dark electro inserts. Rhythm is the main element of Sprawl‘s music and the tracks are ready to be played at a rave party. The Exaltics and K1 remixes of the main track and of “X-51” close the album with fast electro/techno sounds.
It’s time for a new compilation and “SOM Compilation Vol.2” presents thirteen tracks and twelve bands (the last tune is by The Exaltics featuring Gunnar Malich) of which some never had a song released on Solar One Music. Alex Norinh, AS1, Beta Evers, Cestrian, Crotaphytus, The Exaltics, Manasyt, Hadamard, Koova, Nimoy, SLF, Shemale, Spartacus and System Insurgent are the ones that will please you with dark mid tempo tracks. I don’t know if the label gave some instructions to the bands, but the compilation’s track list is kinda balanced, as if they all wrote a track for the same movie’s soundtrack. Dark electro is the the key of the whole CD and the bands are giving their best to make this a great album.
“The Freefall / Code Reference” by The Exaltics / AS1 is the tenth release and it is a double CD / double album package. “The Freefall” is the third album by The Exaltics (after “Invasion” and “The Arriving” released in 2008 and 2009 by Transient Force) and on this one the aliens take a hold on humans thanks to “The Beginning”, “Don’t Ask Me Why”, “Different Places”, “No Return (quiet version)”, “Journey to Jupiter”, “The Conscience Shift”,”Apocalipsic”, “The freefall”, “Slipping Away” and “Discussion-Chamber”. The track listing, as you’ll see, has a kind of chronologic sequence and musically the tracks mix dark obsessive electro with Detroit techno intuition. This is probably The Exaltics‘s best release to date.
From Miami, AS1 spread their sound throughout the universe reaching aliens and robots everywhere thanks to ten tracks of dark electro Detroit techno where 4/4 beats lead the dances of mid tempo electro atmospheric tunes (only “Shit Gets Lost” is sounding a bit more acid with upbeat tempos and cutoff filters working hard).
The eleventh release isn’t out yet and it will be the first 12″ for Solar One Music: a new Crotaphytus EP.
The twelfth release is a new 12″ EP by The Exaltics and it will be out at the end of August. It’s titled “The Clash EP” and is a limited run of 150 copies. Two days ago I received a promo and here’s what you’ll find: a new version of “Journey to Jupiter”, “The Crash” (a mid tempo menacing robotic tune), “The Last Try (AS1 Remix)” (the remix of the second track you’ll find on the B side; on this version we have as usual dark electronic atmospheres in balance between future and mystery); “Reticulation Notes” is a slow tempo syncopated Detroit techno tune with ambient synth pads while the closing “The last Try” is a slow intriguing track with raw synth sounds and minimal melodies. Another fine release by Solar One Music which finally reached the vinyl format. A note to the reader: most of the releases I talked about are limited to 100 copies CD-R’s and for that reason now are out of print, but you can find all those in digital format at Clone Digital Distribution and other fine distributors.
Last but not least let’s talk about the “Unhoerbar Red Edition series”: a techno, electronica, electro sub label born to press up techno, electro and electronica. The red edition series sports four Mini CD’s of artists who collaborated with Solar One Music (Impakt and Komarken Electronics) and artists that Robert and Nico strongly wanted for this project (Kragg www.kragg.fr and Zarkoff www.myspace.com/3apkob). Each of them provided five original tracks and got remixed by Hadamard (Komarken Electronics), Mitchell Chevalet (Kragg), Sneak Thief (Zarkoff) and The Exaltics (Impakt). I’d suggest you purchase all of them to be able to check out great analog dark electro tunes.
Check out all these bands by visiting the links provided above.
Now let’s talk to them directly:
Chain D.L.K.: How have you and Robert met and why did you start Solar One Music and your musical projects?
Nico: We met a long time ago in school, when we were 6, and became very close quickly. I originally started out in the hip hop scene and techno & electro was not my cup of tea until one day, around 2003, Rob played me Drexciya at home (“Neptunes Liar”). From that day on I was hooked on to electro music and after that we started producing music together, under the influence of a lot of cuba libres. This is how Crotaphytus was born. Then in 2006 we started Solar One Music.
Rob: Nico told the story of our first meeting. I had been deejaying from 1996 till 2006 and I’m a record collecting freak and also produced music. So we thought: ‘hey we have to do something because we spend too much time waiting for answers after we send out demos’ and so we started SOM to release our own music.
Chain D.L.K. How would you describe your label to a friendly spaceman who just landed on earth?
Nico: Something different, something special!
Rob: We want to touch people in their soul with the music we release. Deep stuff. Not only dance floor stuff. More like stories built in the head of the listener. You can imagine a lot when you open your mind to this kind of music. I think that’s the important thing for us: we build something for eternity. And special packaging is important to us for sure too 😉
Chain D.L.K. A lot of electro music has sci-fi references, what are yours if you have any?
Nico: The only science fiction stuff I love is Perry Rhodan’s books and Drexciya. Those are my only sci-fi references.
Rob: There isn’t anything special I like in sci-fi. I really like the B movies from the 50’s and 60’s. The Exaltics story happens in their own different world. The music gets a face and gives you the space to think about it. Thats very important to me!
Chain D.L.K. By listening to your releases I’d say that you want to have a sound that people can recognize as distinctive of your label. How important is this factor to you?
Nico: Yes its very important! And we don’t want to copy anyone. That’s the sound we love so much and also feel.
Rob: I don’t think that we think so much about that. It happens every time. We let the feeling flow… that’s all it is every time.
Chain D.L.K. Your music has always a tension factor and would be well used as soundtrack. Have you ever thought to release a video (I’m not counting the one for “What’s Wrong” because it was based on images morphing) or have you ever had requests for using your music that way?
Nico: Time is the reason why we don’t work on videos for the music. We’ve had some thoughts about this but we’ll have to see. With the “What’s Wrong” video it was all about spreading the music on platforms like YouTube. It’s not a masterpiece, I know.
Rob: My greatest dream is definitely to do music for a dark movie. But it is difficult to get into the film industry. I don’t know how to. Perhaps someday someone will hear The Exaltics stuff and say “hey I need that sound”. I hope.
Chain D.L.K. Aliens who are watching us and hungry prehistoric predators are for sure a threat to humanity… Is it more a game or a social statement? You know… we kinda would deserve it.
Nico: It’s definitely a social statement! Like Sin City! It’s freighting what’s happened to our planet. It’s like converting our thoughts about all this shit!!
Rob: I hate this world!!!! I can’t watch the daily news. I don’t understand most people’s attitude but we don’t want to initiate a political discussion here…
Chain D.L.K. The Exaltics will be your first vinyl release. What convinced you to use that format?
Nico: I wasn’t a friend of vinyl! I’ve bought only CD’s and still have no turntable, but I recently listened to The Exaltics‘ “We are Not Your Friends EP” on Last Know Trajectory and I thought: Wow what a sound!!! But to be honest I’m more of a a CD junkie. The other thing is, many people are asking for SOM vinyl… and i do this for Rob. He loves vinyl… this sucker! 😉
Rob: I LOVE VINYL!!!!
Chain D.L.K. What are the electro bands of the past that you love the most and what are the ones that influenced you the most?
Nico: For me no Kraftwerk… Definitely Drexciya for this scene.
Rob: I like the old Detroit stuff… Beside I always listen to music from bands like NIN, the old punk stuff from east germany, AFX, Dead Kennedys and so on… there’s too much…
Chain D.L.K. What are the bands you respect the most and which are the one you’d like to collaborate with?
Nico: The best stuff today comes from: Shemale, Franck Sarrio, AS1, Komarken Electronics, Kan3da, Beta Evers… and a lot of other stuff. Also stuff like old german punk Bands like Schleim Keim and so on… Also I really like Nine Inch Nails and their thing between electronic and hard guitar music. I want to collaborate with Orange Sunshine, the band from the guy from Bunker Records!
Rob: Schleim Keim, AFX, Jello Biafra, NIN, Jeff Mills, AS1… I want to collaborate with Trent Reznor or to make music for a David Lynch film…
Chain D.L.K. What plans do you have for the future?
Nico: SOM Comp. 3, Crotaphytus, The Bite Of The Reptiles 2 and a Komarken Electronics releases for next year. Also a 12″ from our sub label Unhöerbar. More infos to come.
Rob: Making music… we have to see how the things go. Releasing part 3 of the “1000 Lights in the Sky” series on Bunker and also a new 12″ for Last Know Trajectory… a lot of things…
visit them on the web at:
Interview: Maurizio Pustianaz Proofread: Marc Urselli