There are moments when you hit play on a new record and within seconds you know you’re listening to something special. That’s how I felt my first time listening to Sollunar’s debut ep, The Observatory. Maybe it’s my unending love for good post rock. Maybe it’s the excitement of seeing the growth of a friend culminate into a musical masterpiece. Maybe it’s just because the ep is that damn good!
Sollunar is the solo project of Florida musician/engineer Josiah Bibb. And The Observatory is the type of record that reminds me of why I feel so in love with post rock in the place.
The discordant ambient guitar layers providing the bed for the main riff on Aperture/Overture before dying out to a piano bed which strikes out on it’s lonesome for only a second before the song builds and decrescendos, offering a brief glimpse at what’s to come. It’s a tease for something more, which you want. Sure, it could’ve built into the next song, exploding in a triumphal cacophony of sound. But Bibb lets the intro die and gives the songs space to breathe. The dynamics play a key role in establishing a give and take between instrumentation and creating an environment for the listener to dissect and re-listen and engage the songs.
The quietness of Years makes you grab the volume knob and turn up the speakers, trying to catch the subtleties of the song. You can tell there’s an intentional crafting of the songs, because if you expect the song to build to go one one, Bibb will add a little addendum to the track, taking it off the rails of convention, only to reemerge farther down the line, already caught up in the next wave of sound and expansion. At times the guitar seems out of tune and not quite in step with the rest of the song, but it shifts and swerves and finds it’s way back into harmony.
Hoarfrost quickly finds it’s groove and builds, never to a point where the song explodes, but it leaves you wanting it to go over the edge. And it takes you to the edge before quickly dethrottling. The title track is a beautiful ambient piece that serves more as a bridge between the first half of the ep and the second. The bluesy guitar riff giving way for Permafractions to jump right in. No frills or silly introductions, just smack you in the face guitar goodness. The waltzing movement of the riff create a tension in the beauty and destruction happening at the same time.
Soliloquy closes the ep with this knowing that there’s beauty in the simplicity of life. Abigail Bibb’s simple vocal melody create a texture that stands so well on it’s own, that you wish there had been more of it.
And then the record ends. I found myself going back and listening to The Observatory over and over again. It’s the first great record of 2015. 5 out of 5 Stars
RIYL: Caspian, Gifts From Enola, Giants, The Mylene Sheath
You can download The Observatory EP at http://sollunar.bandcamp.com/releases