By Jonathan Widran
Some of today's trendiest, hippest rhythm and jazz grooves spur
from the inventive fusion of modern technology and beats with retro
sonics and arrangements, and these ideas propel outfits like the soulful,
neat and natty solarsystem into the realm of the ultra hip. essentially
the guitar/keyboard tandem of Chris Standring & Rodney Lee, these
bright hipsters draw upon a stirring variety of influences (from Wes
Montgomery to the crusaders and Steely Dan) to create a seductive section
long on vibe and endlessly colorful and fascinating in texture. Sax
funk courtesy of Dino Soldo and just right doses of socially conscious
rap play a crucial role in offering melodic excitement to the atmosphere
heavy vibin', while Lee seems to enjoy a Joe Sample like Fender Rhodes
approach to complement Standring's marvelously subdued but still electric
breezes. Slow, cool jams like the nearly eight minute "Give It
To Me" show that solarsystem doesn't shy away from raw experimentation
within a slick framework, while sumptuous can-we-top-the-original covers
of early seventies gems "Me & Mrs Jones" and "Walk On The Wild Side"
perfectly capture the era solarsystem draws its heart and soul from.
It's the perfect mix of something old, something new, something
borrowed, but never blue for long.
Jazz fueled hip-hop California style. Turning jazz-lovers heads while
the groove nation butt shakes. Jazz fueled hip-hop, complete with horns
and organ loops. The only difference between jazz and street lies
in the repetetive beats, although it sounds like a new set with advanced
low end. The vocal tracks are reminiscent of early De La Soul.
The songs are complete with instrument solos lasting 4 to 5 minutes
and up to 7 1/2 on "Give It To Me". Overall the album flows loosely
with sound messages and crafty hooks. This is definitely one of the
best hip-hop/jazz fusions out there. Jazz enthusiasts will enjoy the
deep extended grooves.
diego north county times
By Cam Miller
All you need to know about
solarsystem is to hear their first cover of "Me & Mrs Jones". It
starts off with a heavy hip-hop beat behind a rap. "Yeah me and Mrs
Jones got a thing going on, a thing going on...." and then after
a few minutes gently slides into a near-straight reading of the original.
The rap and cover swap verses a couple of times before a show stopping,
Vegas style climax that devolves back into a rap outro. The LA band's
debut is one of the hipper releases yet in the acid jazz school. The
lyrics of their original compositions address modern dilemmas, their
musicianship is top rank, the beat is consistently danceable. And
besides two different versions of "Me & Mrs Jones", solarsystem
also turns in a rather funky reading of "Walk On The Wild Side" - slower
and heavier than Reed's version.
midwest music review
A perfect marriage between
jazz and rap by an exciting new group, solarsystem. A gem of a debut
album. Five stars - our highest rating!
Necessity is the mother
of invention, and solarsystem has concieved an inventive way to get
their music to the masses. Like many prior inventors, solarsystem
wanted to make their music more accessible, so "hip-hop meets be-bop".
Keyboardist Rodney Lee and guitarist Chris Standring put a new
spin to acid jazz by transcending racial color lines with their ideal
for a new groove consisting of jazz, rap and dance music. Choice
selections: "Too Broke 2B Tired", "Me & Mrs Jones",(Midnight affair
mix), "What if", "Rhymes 4 A Rainy Day".