Album Review: Heretics - Robert Solheim

Hailing from Norway Solheim has been releasing music since 1997 but whilst he has released EPs under his own name, albums as CURRENT and taken part in a number of collaborations Heretics marks the first full length release as himself.

And it's an interesting album. Robert Solheim's music pops like warm synapses in the brain, the fused connections of man and machine. Unlike some of his earlier work Heretics is a full on dance release, comprising of twelve minimal house and techno tracks spread over the course of almost eighty-minutes.

In the wrong hands eighty-minutes of minimal could descend into a dull dirge. Thankfully Solheim manages to keep things interesting, moving through broad, warm sweeping chords on the extended 'Taking The Challenge Again' to big chiming melodies and baggy drums on 'Cracked Reaktor'. Much as John Talabot managed to translate electronic music in a way that spanned genres earlier this year Solheim breaks minimal out from the underground to make an album with enough spark and detail to deserve a broader audience. There are plenty of moments here for the dance floor but Solheim's earlier, more ambient work comes through in the texture and detail that affords Heretics a place on your home stereo too.

At its best this album sounds like elastic melodies and cracked urban bass baking in the midday sun. Things hit a real stride towards the end. 'Syv' is a sophisticated slab of electronic soul, bumping bass and acid squelches supporting a refreshing, warm synth hook whilst 'Slow Bender' takes early rave keys and runs with them, layering vocal snippets and more lovely warm bass. 'Hurricane Love' is a boisterous bass-heavy take on electro, complete with massive drums and a healthy dose of paranoia. Things close with 'En', a slowed down re-take on opening track 'Null' that completes the cycle.

Heretics is that rare thing - an album for dancing that has brains and soul.

Heretics comes out on Aquavit records on tomorrow.

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