Where Bjork gets experimental and, let’s just say it, weird, Soléy gets introspective and melodic. Comparisons have been made and they aren’t entirely unwarranted. There are a few small similarities, their use of the human voice as an instrument, their combination of naturally and electronically produced sound, and then the obvious, they’re both Icelandic. In my admittedly limited exposure, I’ve found that there’s an undercurrent of similarity to a lot of Icelandic music. But, despite the comparisons, they are very different musicians.
There’s a darkness to Soléy’s album, Ask the Deep. Even though it came out back in May, it was hardly a summer-fun release. In fact, revisiting it now as fall draws to a close and winter creeps closer, makes much more sense. There’s even a song titled ‘Halloween’. You don’t get too many of those. It’s a beautiful listen though, and one I heartily recommend for this time of year. You’ll get fairy tales, mythology, dreams, and nightmares, but you’ll hardly know it.
Musically, watching her perform is fascinating. Despite travelling with a band, she does a lot of looping. Many bands that record and dub over their own harmonies travel with those pre-recorded, which limits what they can do with the song in a live environment or they sample one sound at a time, building into the full composition, but she records her samples as she goes. It doesn’t require much set up either which is the fascinating part. Her songs are constructed in such a way that the looping becomes part of the process. I imagine its a lot like painting with watercolors. You would have to think about composing in layers, from the bottom up. It’s difficult to imagine, but amazing to see executed.