SOLSTEIN – Solstein

SOLSTEIN – Solstein


Boasting a stellar lineup consisting of Jacob Holm-Lupo (Donner, White Willow, The Opium Cartel), Keith Carlock (Toto, Steely Dan, Sting), Stian Larsen, Brynjar Dambo (White Willow), and Bill Bressler, it would be fair to say that this exciting new endeavor from the US and Norway does not exactly lack musical pedigree.

Existing somewhere between prog rock, jazz, and funk (and very much blurring the lines between various genres), this is an eclectic and original take on fusion where strong melodies, clever arrangements, and sturdy grooves are interwoven to good effect. While many modern fusion records oftentimes feel like slick and polished affairs, this instrumental offering by Solstein is warmer and more organic in tone and color, which makes for an inviting and pleasant listen in that things feel neither too stiff nor rigid. What appeals to me here is the amount of creativity that the quintet has poured into these eight intricate compositions of theirs, and there are several interesting twists and turns throughout that the open-minded listener will undoubtedly cherish. Personal favorites include the subtly dark ‘Oriental Folk Song’ and closing track ‘Hamada’, both of which are playful odysseys.

 Fans of jazz rock and the jazzier end of the prog spectrum could do worse than picking up a copy of this self-titled effort once it hits the street in early July.

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