SOLA ROSA — Low and Behold, High and Beyond
(Way Up Recordings)
Opening with a rush of shuffling beats and some exquisitely crunchy synthetic bass, Low and Behold, High and Beyond — the new album from New Zealand’s biggest producer of bulk grooves Andrew Spraggon (known to the business as Sola Rosa) — is already conjuring scenes as sunny as the LP cover art.
From the squelching synth lines in I’m Not The Guy to the lo-fi, room-recorded brass and echoey reggae stabs of Lion’s Den, a pervasive sense of ease seeps out of these tracks. Nicely timed to slip into your audio player of choice as you slip into your swimmers, this collection has spring/summer 2012 written all over it — repetitive, unchallenging, supremely listenable (especially while drinking Pimms in a pool, I would assume) — and considering it was written over the past two NZ summers, it’s not really surprising.
The feature artists are worth a mention — all but one of the tracks feature relaying lead vocalists, making for a charming blend of smooth croons over the liquid Latin/jazz/soul foundations. Spinning Top is a small exception: a straighter, R&B-style easy dance number, with electronic sparkles spicing up the standard bass/percussion/sweet vocal arrangement, and it’s these electro touches that allow the album to hold its own amid myriad similar funk outfits. Shimmers and spirals of crystal space-sounds — I like my grooves with a little bit of extra-terrestrial in them, and if you’re of a similar opinion, then look no further than Sola Rosa to beam you into summer.
SAM GEORGE-ALLEN is a Brisbane writer, postgrad student and musician who can be found being disappointing @samga