Solo Andata: Fyris Swan
Hefty Records

Though they began collaborating after meeting in Australia in 2001, Paul Fiocco and Kane Ikin now find themselves dramatic separated from one another as Solo Andata partners, with Ikin in Perth and Fiocco having re-located to Stockholm in 2005. Working independently on song elements and then sending the resultant sound files back and forth, the duo eventually completed the ten songs comprising their Hefty debut Fyris Swan. Though the new album reveals traces of a Savath + Savalas influence, an elegant folk dimension is only one of many styles that emerge on Solo Andata's accomplished collection, with languid jazz and ambient two others.

The album teems with languorous oases where melodicas softly hum and lattices of acoustic guitars strum as waves gently crash outside seaside cabin windows. In “Old City Crowd,” bells tinkle and woodwinds moan, while the smoky exhalation of a tenor sax lazily rises from a supple bed of tropical clicks, string plucks, and the droning whine of crickets in “A Ballet of Hands.” So meditative it verges on somnambulant, time seems to stand still during “Dawn Chorus.” Evidence of the material's electronic construction is downplayed though the multi-layered density of pieces like “The Echo's Left Behind” renders the fact obvious, as does the generally looped character of the material. In fact, the entrancing effect induced by loop-heavy settings like “Among the Olive Trees” and “Beneath This Stone Wall” likens them to Kompakt's Pop Ambient style. The closing piece, “Midnight,” develops more conventionally, intensifying dramatically as it builds towards its somber close, and consequently leaves a stronger impression. Words like melancholy, placid, lonely, bucolic, and dreamy come to mind when listening to the hour-long set.

The album is a model of contradictions: its music breathes with an outward-reaching expansiveness and warmth yet was assembled from sound files traded by creators living at opposite ends of the globe. Imagining the album's ten pieces emanating from laptops in formal concert hall seems not just incongruous but wrong; music of such human presence seems better tailored for an intimate club where listeners, their bodies wet with summer sweat, mingle freely and close in on the musicians in order to discreetly study their fingerings up close.

August 2006