Sølyst heralds a new era of digital steam power. On "The Steam Age" he turns his attentions to mechanical aesthetics beyond the ubiquitous binary code. As a basis for the third album by the Düsseldorf Kreidler drummer Thomas Klein, an abandoned piano served as a sound source. Tapping, scratching, scraping, plucking: working with the wooden body and steel strings led to the building blocks of a broad sonic spectrum, which Klein then brushed against the grain with his sampler. All of these alienated patterns and sequences were then invited to dance to the typical Sølyst percussion groove, merging with him to form a hypnotically driving machine-funk. Sølyst did not follow a pattern or a chronology on his latest work. Every reduced, often spontaneous step of the process was linked with the next—sometimes by intuition, sometimes by mutual condition.
He also expanded his drum set rhythmically. A homebuilt, electronically manipulated table percussion ensemble, consisting of utilitarian objects such as a tin can or a wooden board, opened the sonic palette to previously unheard and weightless grooves. This percussive spectrum has already been tested and proven live, and spreads a rhythmic gravity that remains accessible despite its experimental basis. Sølyst is ultimately a project that revolves around a hypnotic rhythmic element. "The Steam Age" uses an intoxicatingly atmospheric overall picture to create this hypnosis.
The programmatically selected album title refers to an imaginary superstructure which suggests a study of wear and tear, gouges and scratches, cast in sound and groove. The music is interspersed with the marks of time, such as dust, patina and rust from the world of machines and the interplay and interaction of mechanical components such as gears and pistons. Noise, heat and vapor are included in this associative field of inspiration. "The Steam Age" is an attempt to provide a voice to friction-generating mechanics, motors and movements that audibly assert themselves against opposing forces and sometimes grind to a stutter.
The titles of the tracks, which have names like "Steamfield" or "Atomium", refer to the overarching concept. With headings like "Nostalghia", they even go so far as to reference cinema, alluding here to Andrei Tarkovsky's work of the same name and taking the chain of associations beyond the music. The mysterious rumbling within, beneath and above the eleven new pieces creates an additional aura of mysterious motoric. Yet it also feels familiar, revealing emotional depths that invite the listener to surrender to trust. This music is devoted to a pre-digital machine aesthetic that does not refrain from occasionally toying ironically with the evocation of the analog and handmade. The dark space between the sounds leaves room for anyone to add the sludge of their own imagination and give in to an attraction in which a breath of endlessness is inherent.