Solarium: Olari

SpezialMaterial, 2005

On this, his second album, Solarium (Martin Wigger) presents a solid slab of traditional IDM. The sounds are similar to Autechre and Crunch (among others), but that doesn’t mean this isn’t high-quality music. From the carefully constructed complexity of “UIR” (21 09 18), with lots of beats, bass, and bells, to more abstract compositions like “UIRA” (21 09 18 01), this is a good listen. Other highlights are the melodic, bell-filled “IUM” (09 21 13) and the noisy “RIU” (18 09 21), which reminds me of Speedy J.

Yes, everything on the record is written in a simple letter-to-number code, and the track titles are parts of the word solarium, both backwards and forward. That’s not as pretentious as the handmade wooden case for Solarium’s first album.

Olari makes for good headphone listening. Layers of hi-fi electronics form subtle melodies over a variety of beats. While there’s little experimentation with time signatures or tempo, there’s lots of texture. Swiss label SpezialMaterial’s other releases are in the same vein and are definitely worth checking out.