Salamander Wool: Solar Solipsis
Published: February 8, 2012
A couple of years ago, Carson Garhart, aka Salamander Wool, advanced the outer marker of how loose and alien folk or folk-like music could be and still, somehow, resonate deeply with his Lunarsophic Somnambulist LP. Assorted electronics, spare guitar, very uneven vocals, and randomer sounds rendered into a new class of psychedelia, occasionally pretty even, deeply minimal and lo-fi, and as personal as anything you might slap a “bedroom” tag on. All in all, it’s the sort of patience-demanding record whose followup you might not expect to be bobbing your head to 10 seconds into the first track, “Venus,” sporting one of the most perfectly bizarre beats that comes easily to mind, mainly just a floor tom partnered with a bit of reverb echo—so it sucks into itself—and machine hand-claps backing a kinda Eastern-sounding horn anthem. Instrumental hip-hop situated at the edge of a black hole. Solar Solipsis fits a category that’s certainly a lot more broad, but it makes up another new kind of head-trippery, one involving a great deal more movement and play.
Find also a song, “Eggring,” out-tripping any trip-hop out there, while sounding a bit as if early-days junkyard Beck got together with the slicked-back Hollywood Beck of present day (a heavy see-also: Tobacco or, better, Tobacco meets Jackie-O Motherfucker). The playfulness of Solar Solipsis goes a long way, even when the record’s dabbling in rather more smooshy, scape-y electronic territory, as on the title track. Even tracks that at first seem like goofy solipsism or way/deep-inside jokes, like the robo-effected “Water Dog/Android Mtn” or “Reptile”—a weird number featuring name-to-know Weyes Blood, sounding like a meek, personal folk song getting yanked across spacetime into some sci-fi future—wind up resonating. Near the end comes a song, “Pine Beard Orientation,” that encapsulates something about the record quite well as a glassy melody chases around a battlefield of electronic rockets and dubsteppy bass wobbles/pulses, materializing into something approaching the Salamander Wool we were first introduced to: introspection let to wander and free-associate as long as it pleases only to come back around into sublime peace.
Salamander Wool plays an album release show at the True Vine Feb. 11. For more information visit ehserecords.com.
> Email Michael Byrne