The Caribbean: Scott Solter Re-Populates The Caribbean
Hidden Shoal

Anyone thinking that Scott Solter's re-visitation of five tracks from The Caribbean's Hometapes album Populations will be little more than an act of replication can lay that thought immediately to rest: the two releases are about as different from one another as could possibly be imagined. To large degree, he accomplishes that by largely banishing the group's signature—Michael Kentoff's singing—by either burying the voice under the rubble of synthetic miasma or reducing it to a distorted garble. In general, Solter re-constructs the group's material into set-pieces that are idiosyncratic, unhinged, dazed, and more than a little confused.

Opener “Color Television” turns into a percolating stream of burbling beats and synthetic waves that urgently rushes to parts unknown. Amidst a light-speed careen of flickering detail, one glimpses a sitar-snippet of a Satie melody alongside Kentoff's marble-mouthed vocals. A muscular drum attack acts as a conventional anchor for “Do You Believe In Dinosaurs?” but the track otherwise bleats and howls with hazy, synthetic fury. The vocal-less “That Anxious Age” drops hyperactive, Aphex Twin-styled beatsmithing into a swirling cesspool of grime and distortion where discombobulated fragments of the group's original can be detected, if barely. “Please Mister” reduced the original to a liquidly pulp to then re-shape it into a throbbing shortwave radio workout while “Populations” becomes an ethereal exercise in blinding synth incandescence. Solter's wild ride boldly shifts The Caribbean's style from its customary state of Warholian Pop Art to a fractured zone of Robert Rauschenberg-styled Abstract Expressionism.

July 2009