Robot Junkyard – Derivative takes the simple beauty that is Solarno’s 2010 release Robot Junyard and throws off the shackles of its self-imposed limitations. Where the 2010 album was an experiment with expanding the boundaries of a single instrument, Derivative is an experiment in expanding the boundaries of each individual song. Each song is both remix and re-interpretation, taking the listener to new destinations not imagined when listening to the original Robot Junkyard.
Derivative begins on an almost somber note as Last March of the Robot Junkyard painfully wanders towards glitched-out desolation. This is followed immediately by the juggernaut duo of Fuzzy Logic’s dubstep thump and Cyclic Connection’s glitch beats. Binary Alphabet and Digital Information (remixed by the elusive Echo Chaser) remind us that dance is fun with back-to-back straight up four on the floor energy generators. The first half finishes with the science lesson infused bombastic march of Digital Singularity.
The second half of Derivative delves into more experimentation, opening with the split personality of Cross Platform Discoteque, at once both dripping with moody atmospheres and driving dancefloor filling hooks. The Replicators looks at the seedier side of robot love with vocoder riffs galore. The version of Rise contained here is actually an unreleased version from 2006 that shows off Solarno’s ability to create symphonic tension that continues to build into a triumphant finish. The album closes with a surprise in the form of an acoustic piano version of Cyclic Connection. It’s as if Solarno was channeling the best of Yanni or Vangelis during his studio time when creating this version.
The Bonus Track version of the album offers up a couple of alternates and a bit of history. Echo Chaser provides another remix in the form of The Replicators, breakbeat style. Solarno presents a beat friendly version of Digital Singularity with the vocal line stripped out leaving a raw beast of a track. The closing song is a remaster of the original 1992 version of Digital Information, created when Solarno was just beginning his foray into dance music. It’s rough around the edges but shows us both where the artist has come from, and his inherent ability to craft a good hook.
Robot Junkyard – Derivative shows explosive growth in Solarno’s ability to travel different sound paths while still maintaining a defined identity.
Detailed liner notes and artwork are available from the artists website: