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Solar Fields - Until we meet the sky (Ultimae, 2011)


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Solar Fields - Until we meet the sky

 

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Artist: Solar Fields

 

Title: Until we meet the sky

 

Label: Ultimae

 

Released: 16 December 2011

 

Style: IDM, Ambient, Downbeat

 

 

 

Tracklist

 

phase 01 - From the next end [ 09.18 ]

 

phase 02 - Broken radio echo [ 03.55 ]

 

phase 03 - Singing machine [ 06.55 ]

 

phase 04 - After midnight, they speak [ 03.40 ]

 

phase 05 - When the worlds collide [ 06.33 ]

 

phase 06 - Dialogue with a river [ 10.06 ]

 

phase 07 - Forgotten [ 03.15 ]

 

phase 08 - Night Traffic City [ 09.53 ]

 

phase 09 - Sombrero [ 05.45 ]

 

phase 10 - Last step in vacuum [ 09.11 ]

 

phase 11 - Until we meet the sky [ 05.01 ]

 

phase 12 - Epilogue [ 05.15 ]

 

 

 

Review:

 

Here we are: Magnus Birgersson a.k.a. Solar Fields’ 10th solo output [ Until we meet the sky ]. I can’t believe it’s his 10th album already. It’s been almost 3 years that I first heard Leaving Home and fell in love with the Ultimae sound. I can hardly put to words what a big impact on my life this music has had and especially Solar Fields’ output has always left me in awe of what electronic music CAN be. His distinct but ever-evolving sound has hence become a very important companion for me. And here we are, his 10th album...

 

There’s always a bit of a discussion going on whether Leaving Home or Movements is his masterpiece, but to be honest I’ve never succeeded in choosing one above the other. Even extended and altered: second movements belong to my favorite album’s of all time. As a matter of fact, I group these 4 previously mentioned albums in a special group because I think the sound on Leaving Home is very close to Movements, which for me signifies the really pure psychedelic ambient. Extended and altered: second movements are then musings on how these two could have sounded from a different point of view. There’s more classic ambient influences, even some modern classical influences to be found and above all it’s even more chilled out because of the largely absent beat.

 

Now I finally arrive at the album at hand. To me, Magnus has moved a bit further away from the pure psychedelic downtempo you can experience in Leaving Home and Movements and has made an album that combines all the influences found in the previously mentioned 4 works and comes up with something quite remarkable: he takes a bit of IDM, a bit of modern classical, a bit of ambient and a bit of that pure psychedelic downtempo. How does this work out?

 

The album starts really melancholic with the epic opener From the next end. He slowly leads you into what I perceive to be a winter landscape, cold but beautiful. One of the absolute stand-out features of this album is that this time around, he obviously didn’t care as much to put 11 full-fledged tracks on the album but tried to sow some tracks together with shorter interludes. These interludes are more often than not laced with subtle piano-melodies and I love them to death. It just sounds so mature and I am really glad that he put a piano in it because I just love the instrument itself. We move on in a rather melancholic way with the following tracks until we arrive at the majestic When the worlds collide which forms the apex of the conflicting melancholy I experienced in the opening tracks of this album. Fantastic name for a great tune too.

 

With the track Dialogue with a river we slowly move into more uptempo territory. Not uptempo in the trance-kind of way but this is the first track an IDM’isch beat enters the work. Personally I am not too big a fan of the voice samples in this track, but it’s not like they ruin it for me either. Phase 07 is again a short beatless interlude with again a rather melancholic edge to it, paving the way nicely for Night Traffic City which ups the ante on the melodic aspect of the album considerably. It also seems to be working towards a more upbeat and hopeful end. I can’t help but notice how incredibly well Magnus has paced this one. It really feels like a journey through different lands, seasons, emotions and thoughts, even more so than his previous works. The final bit of Night Traffic City begins to prepare you to meet the sky: Magnus shifts into a higher gear and we enter the positive territory we were heading for in the first place. I always have a sense of growing confidence in this part.

 

Next up is Sombrero, we’re in Mexico! The weather is good as is the outlook on life: sub-lime melodic segments with an uplifting atmosphere. I can feel we’re reaching the climax of the journey, we’re almost there, the sky is getting closer and closer! Great track!

 

Now, we take our last steps in vacuum and everything slows down again... We are reminded of the melancholy found in the first parts of the journey. One last reflection on the things we have passed through echoes through my speakers. Very reflexive track but what an atmosphere... The pads here are just gorgeous. And then we slowly enter last third of this track: we begin to go faster again, an ominous beat enters together with a superb sound which I cannot describe but is so damn epic! Bright pads accompany these two and we begin to see the sky... A last melancholic melody echoes... We’re flying towards the light in slow-motion... Almost there...

 

And then we touch it! Until we meet the sky is THE climax of this album and the transition between it and the previous track is PER-FECT. Reaching this track after having listened to all the previous tracks has given me time and time again such a grand feeling. It resolves everything into pure bliss.

The epilogue kind of looks back on the whole story. The last part almost feels like a recapture of everything we’ve been through in reverse and loops perfectly well with From the next end... fitting name!

 

 

This is probably Magnus’ most mature work until now. The sheer class and style is unbeatable, matched maybe only by Carbon Based Lifeforms. He has definitely evolved his style as he flirts with modern classical and IDM-approaches, which I like a lot. I’m not going into the whole “is this his best album to date?”-question because I think that’s an irrelevant question. The point is that I enjoyed it a LOT, as I have enjoyed everything else I have listened by Solar Fields. I also want to add that I am a big fan of the new Ultimae-covers, beautiful!

 

Conclusion: yet again, highly recommended!

 

 

Buy here:

Ultimae: http://www.ultimae.c.../568/index.html

Psyshop: http://www.psyshop.c.../inr1cd053.html

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  • 8 months later...

Solar Fields - Until we meet the sky - (2011)

 

A bit disappointing for my taste. Solar fields has proved in it's earlier work to be more creative

and this album hasn't that much. There not much inspiration and it takes too long before

there is some action (I think track 6 IIRC). And even when the action starts is still mediocre.

Then again is still solar fields I love the their concept so I enjoyed it but I don't think I'll pik

this album again If I'm in a solar fields mood. There is enough choice...

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  • 11 months later...

With the first several tracks this is a rat's whisker away from drone in my opinion. Exceedingly slow with nary a change. However, it maintains a storytelling flow with it being partially mixed. As you get farther along in the album the action increases reaching a sky scraping feeling of positivity with the title track. This is a release that is wholly different from what fans have come to expect from Magnus, but that doesn't signify inferior quality. True, Until We Meet the Sky requires patience and isn't the kind of album you can listen to in segments. Devote the time to it or listen to something else otherwise you will be missing the point. This is an album made for dreaming or cloud watching when you want to believe in the good of people in a seemingly hostile and negative world.

 

I agree with Koen (RIP my friend), that it wouldn't be my first choice if I were in a Solar Fields mood, but it will bring a smile to your face if you give it a chance.

 

Mdk

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  • 3 months later...

I was disappointed with this when I first listened to it. It just didn't hit me.

Then again, it took me a year to like Extended and Leaving Home too, but when they hit...wow they hit hard.

 

I came back to this about 6 months after getting it, and it sounded good but didn't blow me away. Then about a year later, I put on some headphones in the house and listened to it again. Boom, it hit me. It is very classy, soft psychedelia, too soft for casual listens but get it distraction free and it really opens up. I'm glad I stuck with it :wub:

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  • 1 year later...
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  • 3 months later...

The more I listen to this album the more I like it. It not only builds throughout the album it seems to build upon its own past listens.

I very much enjoy the first part of the album, but this part is mostly brilliant for setting up the second half which just makes me beam :D

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