Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Low Kick & Hard Bop
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop
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C'mon, make with the reviews
KRossHoff@aol.com | swarthmore pa | 11/27/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Solex is, like, that girl who doodled all the time, that you never knew quite what to make of. Her wholesome would-be sex appeal was kind of at odds with her clothing, which was ratty and second-hand enough to qualify as thrift-store chic, but always a little too colorful. You wanted to write her off with epithets like "spunky" and "cutesy," but weren't sure whether she would reject them with an indignant glare or maybe just smile lopsided and pixie away. She's gotten a lot more self-assured, and it's clear that the coolness side of the equation is winning out, though still with that hefty slice of dorkiness which, let's face it, was what cool was all about anyway. Actually, Solex is the nom du disque of Elisabeth Esselink, whose approach to sample-based music is, if nothing else, unique. For her third long-player, the satisfactorily titled "Low Kick and Hard Bop" (it sounds right, don't bother about what it might mean), she has apparently abandoned her working method from the last record, of bootlegging her own copyright-free samples from live performances, and returned to salvaging bits from "unsellable" CDs at her Amsterdam record boutique, along with found sounds and folderol. We're talking about tiny snippets - a few xylophone notes here, a fragment of a horn riff there - culled wittily, but wielded musically. Whereas someone like Beck might use a sample for its humor value, but fall back on live instrumentation, Solex sculpts Beck-like music beds with nothing more than a live drummer and an array of carefully placed samples. Take the album's opening title track as an example: Esselink's oddly Asian-sounding voice (reminiscent of Cibo Matto's Yuka Honda) intones "Elisabeth!" repeatedly, as though to renounce the first two albums' excessive reliance on the Solex moniker as a source for wordplay. Then we get a percolating drum stutter, jumpstarted by a bluesy harmonica blast, which repeats and is soon followed with a slinky guitar slide, before the drums burst into a funky loping groove. The drums here strut and shuffle, but later on they're just as likely to swing or bossa nova, and the musical accompaniment might be equally varied. Complementary, but somehow also in opposition, to Solex's modernist-retro sound collages are her loopy lyrics. Take the full text of the tune "Ease Up You Fundamentalist!": "They were all using the mirrors to study their mouth movements for themselves/They were all learning that the curve is the thing when making up lips." These are absurd nonsense stories delivered with an earnestness and quizzicality that we usually associate with children or foreigners. Esselink does fall into the latter category (and her pride in her Dutchness is evident in titles like "Amsterdam is not LA" and "You Say Potato, I Say Aardappel"), but there is certainly something self-consciously childlike here as well. Is her English accent really as awkward as her bizzarely stressed deliveries would have us assume? Doubtful. No, she's a crafty one. Odd, because a lot of the appeal of Solex's music is it's charming disingenuousness. Clearly, a lot of it is calculated. Come to think of it, that doesn't make it any less charming. (6/10)"
Innovative, Creative-Nothing Like It
Suman | Coos Bay, OR | 03/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've heard countless artists who do the sampling thing. It's all so predictable and limited. But listen to Solex. You absolutely cannot predict Elisabeth Esselink's next move. Not only is it fresh and appealing, it's unsettling, scary, humorous, passionate, naiive AND sophistocated without sounding more artier than thou. How does she pull this off? Say what you will, but it's huge talent. She's completely mastered this genre, and if it's a genre, it's completely invented by Solex. She winds her voice in and out of these complex-yet-deceptively-simple song structures based upon samples. Yet again, I reiterate that sampling can make anything easy if you are not a musician or an artist. The music Esselink creates from samples, however, is extraordinarily clever and well put-together, and takes a mastery that involves a lot more intellect than have the usual wannabes who seek out this type of music tool. Yet, she makes it sound so simple. That, my friends, is indicative of genius. And Elisabeth Esselink is that."
Suman | 12/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album must be done justice, I'll be damned if the people of the world take a pass on this one because of some bad review. This is the work of a genius. "Low Kick and Hard Bop" sounds like the female version of 'Odelay'. In each song Solex succeeds in blending several different musical style together perfectly, she created this all with an old sampler and her singing. I haven't come across an album this infectious since Radiohead's Kid A, The Beta Bands Three EP's, DJ Shadow's Endtroducing, or Neutral Milk Hotel's Aeroplane... I can't stop listening to it. It probably spun 6 times yesterday just driving around with friends. Go and download the first song on this album, then buy it. It's amazing."