It’s a mixed bag, as you might expect with a sprawling LP of around 25 tracks.
Now this is ambitious in the extreme. Solar Life Raft is the collaborative project of Brooklyn's DJ /rupture (aka Jace Clayton) and Matt Shadetek, who decided to make a soundtrack to a future, flooded New York. Some strange liner notes normally dealing with fish, and diving to look for old music bear this out. The ambitious mix CD features 25 tracks interlaced on three turntables. You also get Gang Gang Dance and Telepathe helping out with re-dubbing plus a bunch of people including Elizabeth Alexander contributing with stories and poems.
It’s a mixed bag, as you might expect with a sprawling LP of around 25 tracks. Despite the obvious quality of the music and the And there are times where the smooth segues really don’t allow the listener enough time to take in what is going on, which in turn means that there is the temptation just to switch off and let it all wash over you. At its worst Solar Life Raft could be the ideal music for smart shops or new age boutiques… Timeblind’s ghostly Space Cadet is a tremendous opener which smartly moves into dub territory with Matt Shadetek’s Strength in Numbers. By the time the menacing remix of Gang Gang Dance’s Bebey appears you may well think that you’re in for a big treat. And there are tremendous tracks the whole way through; the sequence involving Babylon System’s Get on Up and Luis Garban’s Green Pusher and Underwater High Rise is truly marvellous and brimful of invention. When it’s good the LP could indeed be the soundtrack for a future travelogue When things get insipid and samey, such as Pulshar’s Mr Money Man it’s when this listener begins to muse about the new age boutique soundtrack.
Still, there are very good reasons to get this LP; Elizabeth Alexander’s marvellous description of where she lives in Philadelphia – named Watermelon City - being one of them. Caroline Bergvall’s whacky tale about having more pets (called, unsurprisingly, More Pets) is another; and an address which bears a striking similarity (in viewpoint) with Moondog’s Animal Rights track.
Give this LP some time and patience, as it’s a rewarding listen