8 Jan 2013

The Solar System "Red Air : A Retrospective" Review

Longtime readers will have encountered The Solar System in these pages before - a prolific home recording one man juggernaut who can release three albums a year without breaking a sweat.
He's equal parts R. Stevie Moore, The Beatles and Radiohead - although where a band like Radiohead started with a couple of entertaining but fairly straightforward alternative rock albums to build an audience before diving off the deep end into the more challenging, experimental waters of "Kid A" and it's followers, Chris Oliver  has never shied away from mixing the hooky with the quirkily experimental.
This coupled with his prolific work rate may potentially have caused problems in the past for first time listeners looking for an in. Indeed where does one start in a catalogue this massive, and with an artist who's just as likely to hit you with a noise experiment or sound collage as he is with a hooky sixties psych pop anthem?
Fortunately for all you discerning listeners, Chris Oliver has put together this thoroughly enlightening twenty track collection of his most tuneful, and psychedelic pop tracks culled from what is quite frankly a daunting back catalogue.
Focusing purely on Chris's pop smarts, this is a perfect primer which reveals an artist with an exceptional ear for melody. His experimental tendencies are given plenty of room to shine too, with these tracks never presented in quite as straightforward a fashion as you'd expect - backwards guitars, treated vocals and distorted drums are only the start of it.
Fans of the afore-mentioned artists, as well as early Brian Eno, Syd Barrett and the likes are advised to make a bee-line for this immediately.
This is one of those perfectly compiled collections that can completely change your perspective on an artist and still function impressively as an album in it's own right.
"Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy" move on over and make room for "Red Air".

Download for a ridiculously cheap price or stream here.


  1. Well written review!!! Gonna try to find time to check it out over @ bandcamp. Love your blog, so glad I found it.

  2. Listened to the whole thing. Really good stuff, really liked all but maybe 2 tracks. Among the several strengths here is that this guy is an interesting and *very* skilled art-rock guitarist.