SOLO ANDATA: Fyris Swan (Hefty Records)


Posted on Dec 10th 2006 09:37 pm

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Solo Andata: Fyris Swans

Fyris Swan
Hefty Records 2006
10 Tracks. 62mins13secs

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 iTunes-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.

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  1. […] with their third opus, one of the most striking records heard this year. On their debut, Fyris Swan (Hefty, 2006), Paul Fiocco and Kane Ikin combined beautiful textural soundscapes and acoustic […]