There’s a mutual admiration and friendship between singer-songwriter Aaron Ross and multi-instrumentalist Spencer Seim (Hella, The Advantage, Byre) that goes back all the way to the late ‘90s, when both were in their teens. The two musicians eventually began playing together when Ross joined Seim’s band Hella during the recording of their 2007 record, There’s No 666 in Outer Space – the two men continued to perform together under the guise of SoloS after the sessions for that album were completed. They released their debut record, Beast of Both Worlds, in 2012.
Shortly after the release of that album, Ross and Seim went right back into the studio to record material for a follow-up. The resulting 6-song “demo” was sparse and leanly built around a keyboard and drums. Each song was recorded live, offering them a way to experiment with their work in ways which hadn’t presented themselves before. But they felt that something was missing and turned to their friend and collaborator Jeff Schmidt, who lent his forceful baritone and effects-riddled guitar prowess to their base tracks.
These recordings felt different, though; they were filled with unpredictable tones and textures, the end result of a kind of spontaneous creation when miraculous things just seem to happen of their own accord. They were more melodic and meticulous than the duo’s earlier work would predict, more excitably composed and less raggedly rock-oriented than their debut. However, SoloS went on hiatus shortly after these tracks were recorded, leaving them archived and away from interested ears. But, thankfully, they are now seeing a proper release as a self-titled EP via Dowd Records on April 17.
On their latest single, “Chains of the Heart,” the band channels the art-pop eccentricities of Talking Heads while exploring the atmospheric landscape of what could pass for an outtake from J Dilla’s Donuts. The song makes its way through various rhythmic starts and stops, offering a complex insight into Ross and Seim’s fascinating musical relationship and the ways in which their abundant creativities compliment one another. The fact that the track still sounds so relevant and modern after years of lost recognition is a testament to its extraordinary creation and to the wonders found within its depths.