Solarminds is the project conceived by Chris Miner in 2002 through which he proposes a music rich in influences, managing to blend multiple genres and styles. The starting point could be defined in Post Rock, but to circumscribe Solarminds‘ music in a single genre would be to diminish the valuable amount of facets contained within it. The album we are pleased to review in this article is “Her Spirit Cracked The Sky” released in January 2021 via Mind Altering Records. Disc inspired by a very important event, the death of his mother in December 2018, where all the emotions were skillfully transcribed into music by Chris. The album consists of 3 long tracks, a long suite of 20 minutes on the first side, a track of over 8 and one of over 13 minutes in the second. The first track “The Gift” is a 20-minute epic that occupies the entire A side of the LP, epic not only for duration but also for the sensations transmitted. Music is a set of emotions that follow one another, carpets of strings that create almost cinematic soundscapes. The very percussive rhythmic session, in addition to being original, adds the right power to the sound, which develops on several fronts by exploring and entering sound meanders as if it were a journey through the sensations experienced by the author. Difficult to approach to a specific genre as we find various references and also compositional and executive techniques that are certainly an added value. All this allows Chris to use in its entirety the entire duration of the track to develop this complex but at the same time engaging theme, where with each listening something new and pleasant comes to the ear. Elaborate but at the same time accessible, this long piece engages us for 20 minutes, a winning mix that certainly captures the listener’s attention. Atmospheric noises characterize the beginning of the second side and of the second piece “The Lie,” the shortest in duration, where we find a deep and emotional singing. Here too, a large part is played by the soundscapes and the sound backgrounds that are cleverly created, which mix with this singing and the guitar, giving life to a poignant song. The album concludes with the third track “The Visit,” which shows a sonic imprint more similar to the first side. Layers of orchestration in the background and a rhythmic session with percussion and very sparkling, all enriched by numerous tempo changes. Even this long piece at each listen will always reveal new and different ideas, a precise transposition into music of the emotions felt by Chris. A good ending for an album that has achieved the goal of describing all the sensations felt by the author after that sad event. An album that best summarizes the moods of its author, who proves to be a master in creating soundscapes with a strong impact, developing the themes of the tracks in an articulated way. A mix of avant-garde, cosmic, Progressive sounds, the list of genres and styles could continue, showing clear ideas and a mature sound. It exudes emotion and offers us an engaging and touching listening, a particular disc that at each listen will give us new ideas and pleasant surprises, recommended to all lovers of particular and elaborate sounds.
01. The Gift (20:01)
02. The Lie (8:07)
03. The Visit (13:52)
Chris Miner created sounds using electric guitar (tracks 1 & 3), acoustic guitar (track 2), altered percussion – bone shaker, rattles, bells, broken guitar strings, modified oil drum (tracks 1 & 3), voice (track 2), and made field recordings of rain, cicadas, and other natural ambience, at The House in Ozark, AL, and recorded synth strings and pads (track 1), and mixed the album at The Apartment in Berkeley, CA.
Douglas Plaisance produced and engineered the recordings (guitar, percussion, voice) at The House in Ozark, AL.
Kevin Carnes recorded drums (tracks 1 & 3) at The Space in Madison, WI.
Alan Douches mastered the album at West West Side Music in Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY.