Strategy Drumsolo’s Delight

[Kranky; 2004]

Styles: drone, ambient soundscapes, minimalism
Others: Tim Hecker, Bola, Jan Jelinek

Someone asked me the other day if there are any labels that I would blindly purchase from. That is, the label consistently puts out amazing releases that its name alone is synonymous with quality music. A handful of labels popped in my head -- Drag City, Touch & Go, Thrill Jockey, Bloodshot, Kranky; it's no accident that they're all from Chicago.

Kranky Records has been delivering the goods in semi-abstract form for over a decade now, and Strategy's Drumsolo's Delight is further proof that this consistency is sealed in stone. Venturing away from the Godspeed-esque instrumental music that at one point threatened to pigeonhole the label, Drumsolo's Delight is an inventive and expertly crafted workout of synths, atmospherics, and electronic beauty.

Under the guise of Strategy, one Paul Dickow is responsible for the seven gorgeous tracks that comprise this release. The album is unique and progressive, despite the recent accolades heaped upon similar artists including Tim Hecker. And to a lesser extent like Fennesz, Dickow's ability to take atmospheric melodies and create an album that is engaging (without burying the tracks underneath crackles and glitches like so many of his peers) is the reason that Drumsolo's Delight succeeds.

Elements of dub through the use of reverb are hinted at within the title track. On "Super Shewolf Inna Jungle," Dickow takes a simple synth melody and stretches it to create a lush six-minute track, where in the hands of a lesser-quality producer the track would lose steam. On the lone vocal track, "Walkingtime," guest vocalist Caro waxes poetic that recalls the best of Underworld with a dose of soul.

It's hard to find any qualm with Drumsolo's Delight. It's always a pleasure when some bedroom producer comes into the spotlight and surprises the music scene with a release full of ideas and talent.

1. Cascadian Nights
2. Super Shewolf Inna City
3. Drumsolo's Delight
4. Jazzy's Dilemma
5. Final Super Zen
6. Walkingtime
7. The Jazzy Drumsolo