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Genuine solo albums are hard to come by. For far too many musicians, a solo album is simply one where none of the collaborators get their names on the front cover. The real thing can have many benefits for the soloistno other musicians to pay, no awkward clashes of egos, no breaking up over musical differences. But the buck very definitely does stop with the guy whose name is on the cover. On Stand Alone, the buck stops with Dutch musician Lars Dietrich.
Dietrich is the alto saxophonist with The Story; a young, well-received quintet based in New York that also features Texan tenorist Samir Zarif
. Outside of that musically tight, inventive, but acoustic band, Dietrich launches himself full-tilt into a world of electronica, mixing techno, dance, jazz and occasional rock and classical influences. The music triggers memories of Tangerine Dream, Tonto's Expanding Head Band, Kraftwerk and others, as Dietrich creates a musical mélange that never fails to intrigue, intermittently frustrates, and sometimes sounds like music for dancing.
The frustration comes from the occasional over-working of limited ideas, on "Champloo" for example, but most of the time Dietrich is more imaginative, with "Monokleam," the slow-tempo and reflective title track, and "Exitship"a sort of Celtic/trance crossoverat the melodic end of the spectrum. Things get a tad wackier with the polyrhythms of "Lars vs Sral," the oddly plaintive "Byeworld" and the relaxed yet mysterious "Metalage," while the slow and sinewy groove of "Clustarrr" offers an ideal opportunity for some dance floor action.
Dietrich plays everything on Stand Alonealthough it's not clear what everything is, and neither the album sleeve nor the press release give too much away. There's plenty of electronics and keyboards, the occasional saxophone, vocal samples and more. The warm static crackle of vinyl underpins some of the tunes. It's a comforting sound that balances out some of the more discomforting ones, and acts as a reminder of the pioneers of electronica who form the foundation for Stand Alone.
Track Listing: Lost; Monokleam; Redshift; Acebirt; Exitship; Stand Alone; Madretsma; Lars v. Sral; Champloo; Metalace; Clustarrr; Pragma; Headvoice; Byeworld.