Phillip Sollmann uncovers new worlds on “New Atlantis.” It’s his first record since releasing the seminal LP “Decay” in 2014 on Dial records and it finds the artist at something of a musical crossroads. Sollmann’s capacity for bold experimental electronic music and the functional finally converge on the dance floor, as two distinct aspects of the artist’s work find some harmonious orbit in relation to the other on his latest LP.
“New Atlantis” finds the artist stretched between the work he does under his eponymous moniker and the dance floor creations of his Efdemin alias and for the first time, we find Sollmann channelling some of those avant garde electronic practises of records like “Something is missing“ through his Efdemin nom de plume. The result is a record that functions on both a corporeal and a cognitive dimension, alluring in its sonic design and purposeful in its pragmatic rhythms.
“New Atlantis” is uncharted territory for Sollmann as Efdemin, and it finds the artist dividing his time between the introspective subtleties of sound art and the bold, challenging nature of the modern dance floor. It’s quite a long way off from the focussed sound of ”Decay” as it embarks over a series of tracks that shift remarkably in dynamic design over the course of the record. From the serene droning ambience of tracks like “Oh Lovely Appearance of death” and “At The Stranger’s House“ to the full frontal assault of a track like “Black Sun,” there are two distinct moods that emerge across this record.
When Efdemin trains his sights on the dance floor, he gets raucous with formidable rhythm structures and dark sultry atmospheres clinging to the droning Techno arrangements. There’s something impulsive, more urgent to tracks like “A land Unknown” than we’ve witnessed before in Efdemin’s work. Favouring a notable progressive slant throughout, Sollmann travels great distances on minimalist foundations that waver little from their theme, encouraging the artist to some heady heights. It’s at its most impressive on the extensive title track as lysergic bass lines and droning sine waves weave a sporadic thread through a stoic four-four percussive arrangement.
Through fifteen minutes of restrained improvisation that steady beat goads Sollmann through some expressive melodic modulations that exporting the listener to some intoxicating heights on the pulse of the dance floor. It’s a masterclass in controlled extemporisation from Sollmann and a serious weapon in any DJ bag. Were it for that track alone, the LP would be a worthy addition to any record collection, but there’s so much more to “New Atlantis” than the appeal of its obvious hit. From erratic sonic whirlpool of “Temple” to the listless melodies of “The Sound House” there are many levels to Efdemin’s latest LP.
Efdemin’s sound is still very much in effect on this record, but we truly get the true scope of Sollmann’s extensive voice as an artist on this record. Those things that made “Decay” such a great album are still there, but it also opens up into a more progressive dimension, consolidating the two aspects of Sollmann’s artistic approach on one record.