Building on an already illustrious career that has involved labels such as Morr Music, Ersatz Audio, and his own Suction Records imprint, Toronto’s Solvent (Jason Amm) has completed his most accomplished and compelling work yet. It’s been three years since 2001’s Solvent City, and Solvent has been busy studying the science of synthesis, and hopes to reaffirm the magic of synthesizer pop music, not as a half-baked and hollow trend, but as a form of high art.
Apples & Synthesizers is also Solvent’s most diverse collection to date. Four of the thirteen tracks have the new addition of vocals, carrying on in the tradition of the original new wave masters, but clearly individual and contemporary in their execution. “Think Like Us” has been described as Skinny Puppy gone booty, while “For You” brings a depth of emotion that has seldom been wrought from vocoders and synthesizers. Fans of Solvent’s earlier work won’t be disappointed either: Apples & Synthesizers is not drastic stylistic departure for Amm, but a natural and timely progression, shifting the styles he explored on previous records to create a striking mix of joyous melodies, voltage controlled precision, and dark bass lines that swirl about on the surface. The ubiquitous “My Radio” (which originally appeared on Tangent 2002: Disco Nouveau) is a perfect example of this formula, as the mournful vocal refrain gives the song both a wistful undertone and an insanely catchy hook.
Two versions of the album are available. The concise LP version avoids repeating tracks from the Radio Ga Ga 12” series, while the CD version is fully-sequenced.
“This is all the contemporary synth-pop you’ll ever need…a long-awaited shot in the arm.” -Logo
“Amazing…[Solvent] pulls off the trick of producing simultaneously accessible pop music and a credible dancefloor igniter.” Four stars. -DJ
“What most distinguishes Apples and Synthesizers is the warmth and humanity it brings to an oft cold and sterile genre, while remaining both accessible and sophisticated…any criticism dissipates immediately in the presence of the irresistible melodies and skipping beats.” -Grooves
“Solvent commits to [synth-pop] so much that you forget he was ever an “experimental” artist and it works, especially on the sublime vocal hit “My Radio”...it ain’t your pop’s pop.” -XLR8R
“Dr. Who basslines, hot synth action, computers talking like people (!)—this one has everything you’ve come to expect and demand from a high performance melodic electro synth-pop long-player, and it’s even from Canada. Is there anything we can’t do?” 9.5 out of 10. -Vice
“Neither electroclash obvious nor underground obtuse, Ghostly International’s loving attention to detail has given them a cult following. Electro is their game, and Solvent’s Toronto-based Jason Amm consequently deals in vocoders and Spartan arcade game noises pinging into empty space. More than this, though, he knows his way round a tune and stops off to sonically reference various landmark acts. Gary Numan, Fischerspooner, Kraftwerk and, naturally, Visage, all spring to mind at one time or another during ‘Apples & Synthesizers’. But it’s what he adds rather than his ability to ape the past that makes this album worth a listen.” 4 out of 5 stars. -MixMag
“Even if you despise all things retro, you’ll be hard pressed to resist Amm’s durable, ‘80s-inspired melodies, which should give his music a broader scope and hopefully a little longevity.” -JunkMedia
For over a decade, Jason Amm’s work as Solvent has neatly defied categorization. His music is too sweetly melodic for techno or acid, his compositions too fiendishly detailed for synth-pop. ...check out Solvent's page and other releases