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Solvent



Jason Amm's music injects a fresh pop sensibility into the cold buttocks of the bedroom electronics scene, immediately delighting with its honesty, clarity, and emotional resonance. Made using the classic sounds of the Roland TR-808, Jupiter 6, and other impossible-to-find vintage gear, his work stands out in a world dominated by artists jumping on the current technological bandwagon and hoping to become the next Autechre or Richard James.

1999's Solvently One Listens was Jason Amm's second full-length (his 1998 debut was simply titled Solvent) on Suction Records, the record label he founded with Gregory De Rocher of Lowfish. Not afraid to divulge his influences, a list on the inside cover of the CD includes such household names as Human League, Yazoo, Skinny Puppy, Depeche Mode (the song "Basildon" refers to Depeche Mode's English hometown), Soft Cell, and Aphex Twin. Amm has a deep appreciation for the electronic music that defined the 1980s -- he strives to capture the charming, sincere side of the era, when imperfect electronics colored catchy pop songs and robots sounded cute as they tried to imitate humans and fit in. Amm successfully captures the sound of his youth, writing irrestible pop melodies that bounce and tickle, while offsetting them with more serious, dramatic compositions, producing a diverse flow much like your favorite Depeche Mode record.

Given the historical context of Solvent's releases, one can't help feel a sense of irony when listening to this perfectly simple, stripped-down robot music. But the Solvent sound (and the sound to which Amm and De Rocher have dedicated Suction Records is as fresh and exciting to electronic music today as New Wave was twenty years ago. Amm's deep ties to his influences are a bit uncanny when considering the trends of today's electronic music. Perhaps this record will launch a new breed of "primitive" electronic music that will capture the world once again. Long live Vince Clarke.

Born in Zimbabwe in 1972, Amm now resides in Toronto, where he and De Rocher run Suction. Suction recently released a two-volume set, Snow Robots. Volume 1 contains some vintage Lowfish and Solvent tracks, including Solvent's upbeat "Flexidisc", featured here on Epitonic. There are even some songs from De Rocher before he was Lowfish, going under the name Pest(e), that were released on vinyl only back in 1996. Volume 1 is a must-have for all newbie Suction fans.

Volume 2 features new Solvent and Lowfish, plus a collaboration between the two called Tinfoil Teakettle and tracks by a slew of other excellent minimal robot artists.

In 2001, Amm continued his onslaught of pop-infused electronic music with his third full-length, Solvent City, this time for the esteemed German label Morr Music.