- Luke Solomon is in many ways a pleasing throwback to the days when an artist just made and played records, uncomfortable nourishing the hype machine required in a self-publicising social network era. The Classic boss's new long player, Timelines, is a reminder of the recognition he deserves.
Many years in the making, Timelines is an eminently personal record. It's partly a response to his follow-up to 2008's The Difference Engine, which "fell on deaf ears quite considerably" (his own words) and was never released. This motivated Solomon to keep his next work hidden, bringing together a cluster of artists to collaborate on a project that became a symbol of upheavals in his life. "I didn't want the album to be affected by opinions of those that were too close to me and the music," he says. The result is a collection of tracks that reflect intensely on the individual behind them.
"Say Something (People Stamp Your Feet)" is a vivacious opener, a samba-flecked street party of a record that's heavy on live percussion, horns and Natalie Broomes' brassy vocals. "Sinners Blood" at first feels like a straight progression, but listen to Terry Grant's barbed words on religion and you realize Solomon's trick of painting in contrasting shades. Nothing on Timelines is ever one-dimensional, whether its the syncopated, melancholy harmonies of Tiger Tiger on "Not Coming Home (Part One)" or the outstanding "Let's Bleed, Let's All Bleed Together," which at once evokes Talking Heads and Hercules And Love Affair.
The album inhabits a place where the lyrics are emphasised, instead of simply played out for rhythmic or symbolic effect. Here they're heartfelt, and none more so than on "Lonely Dancer," created in memoriam for close friend Kenny Hawkes in 2011, and remixed into Balearic bliss by Ewan Pearson. . Nothing attempts to fit the standard dance floor template—"We're Floating In Space" and "Hey Giorgio" feel more like tracks from lost experimental albums, while the brass-tinged acid of "Gods And Monsters" and the shuffling funk of "We Go" are refreshed by excellent remixes from Waifs & Strays and Crooked Blood respectively.
Timelines is a product of an artist who's willing to put much more than just his production skills into his work. It candidly advertises the joy Solomon takes in making music, a rumbunctious, far-reaching extension of his DJ sets, unshackled from the sonic confines of the club.
01. Say Something (People Stamp Your Feet)
02. Sinners Blood (edit)
03. Not Coming Home (Part One)
04. Let's Bleed, Let's All Bleed Together (edit)
05. Heading For A Breakdown (edit)
06. We Go
08. Hey Giorgio
09. You Rest Easy
10. Gods and Monsters
11. Destruction (Moon, Stars, Venus and Mars)
12. We're Floating In Space
13. Lonely Dancer (Dance Away The Pain) (Ewan Pearson Into The Night remix)
14. Gods and Monsters (Waifs & Strays remix)
15. We Go (Osamu & Hiromat remix)
16. Sinners Blood (Crooked Blood instrumental)
17. Interceptor (Mark E remix)
18. Timelines (bonus mix)