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The Big Takeover #80 Spring 2017
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Solilians – Shin (Goodbye Better)

Solilians - Shin
15 March 2017

Three-fourths of this Long Island, NY/Maryland-based “space drone” outfit played in 2001-12 electronic popsters So L’il; those unfamiliar with that earlier band should head to Bandcamp and sample their two compilations, 2012’s So L’il: Best of the First Decade and 2015’s Revolution Kathy. (The latter culls from their two LPs, 2004’s Revolution Thumpin’ and 2005’s Dear Kathy,. In his issue 55 review of Revolution, our Jack Rabid opined, “This sounds like what people will listen to if Blade Runner is our future.”) Solilians were birthed by a 2013 7” soundtrack that keyboardist Benjamin Malkin wrote for illustrator Ian Densford’s “super-powers tale sans violence” The Binah Comics, and originally included Soundpool and The Stargazer Lilies frontman John Ceparano (AKA J. Cep), who contributes bowed guitar to two tracks on Shin.

The quartet is fronted by two hypnotic female singers, Neptune Sweet – also of the one-woman Electric Djinn – and Sharon Malkin, the latter crooning in Hebrew. Their ethereal voices evoke faraway phantoms, both blending seamlessly with Benjamin’s subdued beats and the celestial synths of Gabriel Walsh (who also has his own solo project, The Earthly Frames, and previously played in Timesbold). The soothing “Lamedvavniks,” spiritual, trombone-tinged (courtesy Dan Blacksberg, of Hasidic metal band Deveykus) “Hine Ma Tov” and submerged “Planet Binah” each stretch to epic lengths, suggesting a solitary sojourn through a serene solar system. (A terser, trip-hoppy version of “Hine Ma Tov,” mixed by MRC Riddims DJ/producer Merc Yes, also adorns the LP; the song’s words come from a Jewish hymn typically sung at Shabbat feasts.) Those three, along with the heavenly “Hatikvah: The Next Generation” – a ravishing rendition of Israel’s national anthem – and the throbbing, djembe-dotted (courtesy Pipiawitz) “Rev’s Gold”, cement Shin as a soul-purifying, inner peace-producing pleasure. (goodbyebetter.com, solilians.bandcamp.com)

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