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Last in:24.04.2024
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Solpara - Time To Hold Better
Solpara - This Time Last Year
Solpara - We Keep Us Safe
Solpara - Melancholy Sabotage
Solpara - Measures
Solpara - We Don't Owe
Solpara - Breaking Points
Solpara - Eviction

2. GENRE/S: Electronic / Trip Hop / Breaks


1 - Time To Hold Better
2 - This Time Last Year
3 - We Keep Us Safe
4 - Melancholy Sabotage
5 - Measures
6 - We Don't Owe
7 - Breaking Points
8 - Eviction

The new album from Lebanese-American musician Solpara, Melancholy Sabotage, marks his full length debut and return to Nicolas Jaar's Other People label. While it was recorded over Covid lockdowns, Jaar had been talking about wanting to back a Solpara full-length since he put out Swing. The album came to life while Solpara was living alone in a Brooklyn loft, collecting unemployment checks and viewing ample free time as the artist residency he'd dreamed of; he'd previously been forced to make music in odd windows between numerous jobs and the unmerciful pace of city life. Free from obligations, he would wake up early to take Arabic lessons online, read Tracey Thorn's autobiography, and skateboard the deserted streets, then come home and design sounds until he had a track that felt like it needed to be released. While this easy going lifestyle was peaceful in many ways, Solpara found more complex inspiration in the emotion that stemmed from participation in Black Lives Matter protests and the 2020 Beirut Port explosion, which rocked all of his extended family members in Lebanon.

Melancholy Sabotage explores the theme of sabotaging melancholy. Echoing sounds from the post-punk, trip-hop, and ambient genres, it is about sabotaging the cycle of melancholy and looking at this process without ignoring the sources that put it into motion. It may be compared to a rattling breaking free from retention, reaching states of dreamy euphoria while simultaneously acknowledging the sources of retention, viewed from above. The sources can be personal, political, or socio-economic. They are to be apprehended post-melancholy, after the sabotaging of the initial cycle of melancholy. In other words, it is about transcending melancholy and understanding where it came from with some distance. It may be beautiful and healthy to feel for a while, but how may one sabotage this cycle when it becomes paralyzing? Ultimately, this album is about feeling melancholy but also resisting it and naming the sources that initiated it.

"Time To Hold Better" points to neglect on both personal and group levels. "This Time Last Year" is a personal time capsule. "We Keep Us Safe" is about solidarity, autonomy, and care witnessed within protest groups. "Melancholy Sabotage" is a sonic exploration of the album concept illustrating anger and sadness, but finally, resistance and liberation from these feelings. "Measures" is a more fluid exploration of the latter after the initial storm has passed. "We Don't Owe" points to bigger bodies inflicting harm on populations that we owe nothing to. "Breaking Points" harkens the times that we may lose focus while pushing to transcend melancholy. "Eviction" is about being pushed out of a space unwillingly while simultaneously being forced to move forward.

Melancholy Sabotage pulls from a range of genres, uniting electronic sounds under the same post-punky glow. It pulls from complex, heavy themes including damage and injustice, presenting Solpara's most moving body of work to date. It highlights the poignance that has always been at the heart of his fluid sound, which caters to dancefloors and avant-garde spaces in equal measure. Working with a mix of dissonant guitars, distorted drum machines, and distant, reverb-washed vocals, Melancholy Sabotage is Solpara's uneasiest outing to date. The record pinpoints the duality at the heart of Solpara's sound, which is as plaintive as it is searing.


Solpara launched the label and event series Booma Collective with Oren Ratowsky and Valentin Stip - a lowkey institution in the international techno circuit.

His 2015 EP, Swing, marked both a sonic and professional turning point. It split the difference between noisy techno and spacey ambience, capturing the essence of a young artist settling into a singular lane. Issued by Nicolas Jaar's esteemed Other People label, it solidified Solpara's place as an inimitable up-and-comer. "Nicolas and I met in high school, played in a band together, and have been exchanging music ever since," he says. In part thanks to Jaar's powerful co-sign, subsequent Solpara releases landed on imprints such as Quiet Time Tapes and Bruta?.

Solpara fuses elements of post-punk, ambient, house, and dub techno. While plenty of his cuts would fit within the context of an energizing DJ set, many are arrhythmic and avant-garde. When asked about his influences, Solpara cites artists ranging from Laurel Halo to Laurie Spiegel to Massive Attack to Denis Mpunga to Lily Tchiumba. His eclectic tastes were nurtured while studying film and philosophy in college, with German expressionism, Tarkovsky, and Chris Marker's La Jetee allowing him to realize the atmosphere he had been searching for. This curiosity was further encouraged by Booma Collective members and his roommate Jurg Haller, who went on to found the label Forbidden Planet Records. Later, after Solpara returned to his New York City hometown, he worked as a buyer for the now-shuttered record store Halcyon. In that job, he listened to copious amounts of music every day. His deep knowledge of culture has had a strong impact on a sound that is simultaneously fluid and commanding.