A looming tapestry of undulating, post-rockian, free jazz-tinged, minutiae-detailing, electro-acoustic brilliance, Fyris Swan’s chest-tugging magnitude is a striking testament to the role of time, space, and technology in composition. Solo Andata’s restrained and measured efficacy benefits from their separation (its members live in Australia and Sweden), as the labored deconstruction applied to every element forms the album’s hefty backbone. Each pluck and bowed, processed sound builds over an hour, culminating in the perfectly realized “Midnight.”
Electronic music was never meant to be warm and pastoral, but Solo Andata are the latest in a long list of musicians to use computers to do just that. Not that Paul Fiocco and Kane Ikin, the men behind the project, limit themselves to artificial sound forms. Right from the moment they met, almost six years ago at the end of a gig in Perth, Australia, they opted for a much wider scope, involving the pair’s respective instrumental expertise. While Fiocco combines electronics with occasional drums and piano, Ikin, who has spent most of his formative years playing in a variety of bands, adds generous swathes of acoustic guitars. Since they formed, Fiocco has moved to Sweden, and the pair have been communicating and creating music using the Internet. It was therefore almost logical that they should choose to release their music on Chicago-based Hefty.
Fyris Swan is Solo Andata’s debut album and follows an iTurnes-exclusive EP published earlier this year. Feeding from a variety of genres, from folk to ambient to film music, Fiocco and Ikin blend them all into this distinctive series of compositions. At times using just the bare minimum in terms of sounds and melodies, while at others assembling more elaborated formations, Solo Andata craft wonderfully subtle, elegant and fragile instrumentals. Cinematic and pastoral, Fyris Swan is not without evoking the startlingly textural forms of Mountains’s Sewn, albeit developed over richer soundscapes.
The album opens with the gentle acoustic guitar swirls of Her Face As Soft As Sleep, upon which additional layers are applied over its course to give the piece a delightful sheen, which is found pretty much all the way through Fyris Swan. As the pair delve deeper into their atmospheric constructions, the mood settles, only disturbed by occasional blushes of ethereal jazz (Old City Crowd, Among The Olive Trees) or vaporous drones (A Ballet Of Hands). While the compositions often appear as if almost entirely static, Fiocco and Ikin develop melodic themes and musical structures over a whole track, making painfully slow but utterly satisfying progress as each element is brought in and carefully placed before another is being considered. This contributes to giving Fyris Swan its recurring cinematic feel. Solo Andata don’t look for instant ephemeral reward here. Instead, they are prepared to wait for their music to grow so as to achieve a much more sustained effect.
While there is no real narrative through the record, Fyris Swan doesn’t actually suffer from it as Solo Andata continuously refine their soundscapes and introduce new components to their music, allowing it to flourish in various ways all throughout, making this album a rather very convincing debut.
Produced, recorded & mixed by Solo Andata, 2006
The IA tunes #3 EP
A digital only four track ep released around the same time as Fyris Swan featuring Ballet of hands and 3 tracks recorded in the same sessions.
‘Slowly imposing themselves on the foreground of the ambient electronic scene, through three albums so far, this Australian duo of Kane Ikin (from Melbourne) and Paul Fiocco (from Sydney) began in 2006 with this debut EP on Chicago label Hefty records.
Though the tempo, the texture, the sense of silence and production are clearly belonging to the electronica field defended by a label like 12K, some links can be drawn to a certain introspective jazz music defended by a label like ECM New Series, to the works of Donato Wharton, or to other Australian artists like Oren Ambarchi (though never as harsh or tough) or Dirty Three (without the accent on emotional interpretation), sharing with them a sense of warmth and space.
Four tracks for almost twenty minutes, this EP gives directly a strong impression of quality which won’t be denied through subsequent listening.
The opening “A Ballet of Hands” perfectly translates the quiet atmosphere of hot summer days you would imagine from inland Australia, with the dryness, the whispering of insects, the overcoming heat and a deep sense of mineral sadness and nostalgia.
A darker and nocturnal “Wind Through The Wires” follows more abstract and introspective steps as you drive at night through suburbs under a constant rain. Pensive and taking a rest lying in a hammock under trees brushed by a light breeze, “Middle That Time” is appeasing.
“Sukieneice” is organic, luxuriant green vegetation of late spring with warmth and a high level of humidity, the occasional flute brings volutes and voluptuousness.
“A wonderful and recommended debut EP for Solo Andata.” – derives-webzine