- Solex Vs. The Hitmeister - - 1998-03-10
- Pick Up - - 1999-09-07
- Low Kick and Hard Bop - ole-499 - 2001-09-11
Low Kick and Hard Bop
September 11, 2001
“Esselink’s real genius is in her massive contextual high jinks — taking the best few seconds that a band might ever play and neatly annexing it to similar bits from dozens of other bands to make a pop Frankenstein’s monster... her unique concept of songcrafting points toward seemingly limitless musical possibilities... Solex creates a new pop ideal.” — Time Out New York
“Solex creates audio paradise from towering mounds of audio refuse.” — Request
“Heavy orchestral cartoon music for carports. William Burroughs as Bugs Bunny. Like ‘Fantasia’ for 60s delinquents, a strong dose of freakout fun.” — Detroit Metro Times
“Like Beck or Cornelius at their best, the kitchen sinks consistently add up to full plumbing works.” — AP
“Elisabeth Esselink is a genius.” — Melody Maker
The craziest, most thrilling effort to date from Dutch sound collage wizard Elisabeth Esselink aka Solex. Not (necessarily) a bop recording, the lost and found sounds resurrected and recombined by Solex would be mere props in anyone else’s hands, not the weapons utilised by Esselink to deadly effect. A master of making something-out-of-nothing, Esselink finds source material that she describes as:
“Old vinyl, crappy un-sellable CD’s (again), television (Wheel Of Fortune!), the ‘better looking’ talk show hosts (they seem to sound better as well), noisy deaf people, films, bootlegs (again), radio, street-noises and animals. The noisy deaf people were my favourites. They do know what they’re talking about, but don’t have a clue what they sound like (opposite to most musicians).”
The results don’t merely “resemble” glorious, oozing-with-technicolor pop songs, but are in fact, the REAL DEAL. The sharp wit and genuinely warped sensibility that made the first two Solex albums such an international success are in abundance on Low Kick and Hard Bop but we’re sure you’ll agree with us that this is the Solex album guaranteed to please the hardcore fan and the uninitiated alike.
Solex is Elisabeth Esselink. Pick Up was recorded, produced, and mixed entirely by her, in the basement of her record shop in Amsterdam.
While her debut album, Solex Vs. The Hitmeister, was mostly sampled from obscure 25-cent-bin vinyl from her shop (oh, and the Cure), most of the samples on Pick Up are from recordings she made at live shows, ranging from classical stuff to metal bands. Call it a live record of sorts. Pick Up is a wilder, sneakier, more layered album than its predecessor, the baklava to Hitmeister’s rugelach.
All the lyrics on Pick Up are short sketches, imaginary conversations she had on the toilet. The original title of Pick Up was Bathroom Desires.
Please note that there is no silence on Pick Up.
Bjork has never met The Residents.
“Randy Costanza” is a Pittsburgh rocker that has had considerable impact on Elisabeth.
The Solex live show has evolved into a thing of extraordinary dexterity, merging the idiosyncrasies of the albums with the immediacy of a live band. This past year, she played The Lowlands Festival, SxSW, Popkomm, CMJ, Noorderslag, Les Printemps de Bourges, Roskilde, toured Japan, Europe, and America twice, done two Peel Sessions, and met lots of nice people.
“She is a gloriously idiosyncratic songwriter, whose songs pursue their own internal logic, remarkable in their complete disregard for how a beat or rhythm should sound.” - Tim Owen, The Wire. Pick Up is in stores now.
Solex Vs. The Hitmeister
March 10, 1998
A startling album from the previously unknown Dutch sampling/keyboard wizard Elisabeth Esselink, aka SOLEX. Esselink’s haunting vocals combined with a varied array of found sounds (some of ’em found in the second-hand record shop she runs) recall few other experimental/pop crossovers. You could try playing Cabaret Voltaire, Portishead, Cibo Matto and Suicide similtaneously on four different CD players but a) it wouldn’t sound very good and b) Wayne Coyne might think you were making fun of him. And it wouldn’t be necessary — Solex Vs. the Hitmeister is as inventive as any of the above, yet showcases a vocal presnece (and a keen sense of humor) you won’t find elsewhere.
New Solex URL
As preparations for the new, life-affirming ‘Low Kick & Hard Bop’ CD continue, you’ll be happy to know that the official Solex website can now be found at http://www.solex.net.
‘Low Kick & Hard Bop’ coming in September
A note from Elisabeth: “Just gave a huge envelope to a FedEx guy. The envelope included the production master & artwork for my new record. To be released on September 11th. The poor guy got attacked by one of my cats. One way or the other she keeps thinking she’s a dog. Anyway, the record is an absolute No-Bullshit record called ‘Low Kick and Hard Bop;’ 42 minutes, 15 songs. Here’s a top five of album titles that didn’t make it to the sleeve:
1) The Loopholes
2) Because I’m Worth It.
3) A Cross between Cyndi Lauper and Early SPK.
4) Fuckie Fuckie Cheap Cheap
5) Swedish Reggae
Elisabeth Esselink, Solex
Amsterdam 27th of february... 11.45 pm.
Someone had thrown his whole record collection on the pavement for grasps. I managed to stack about 500 singles on my bike and went home.
Here’s a little taste:
-The Gap Band; Oops Up Side Your Head
-Dillinger: Cokane My Brain
-The Press: I’m Gonna shoot The Deejay
-Lipps, Inc.: Funkytown
-Wild Cherry; Play That Funky Music
-Bee Gees; You Should Be Dancing
-George Benson; Give Me The Night
-Imagination; Body Talk
-The Shirts; Laugh And Walk Away
-Roxy Music; Manifesto
-The Romantics; What I Like About You
-The Jacksons: Blame It On The Boogie
-Joe Tex; Loose Caboose
-Boys Town Gang; Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
-Queen; Somebody To Love
-Fleetwood Mac; Silver Springs
-The Korgis; Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime
-Robert Palmer; John And Mary
-Grace Jones; I’ve Seen that Face Before
-Deep Purple: Child In Time
-Van Halen; Runnin’ With The Devil
-Splodgenessabounds; Two Pints of Lager & A Packet Of Crisps Please.
Solex most frequently received e-mails top 5 of 2000
1. Daily e-mail lunch news from Dutch newspaper Het Parool.
2. NME newsletter.
3. Good Records newsletter; recordshop in Dallas Texas. (don’t even try to unsubscribe !!!)
4. The agenda of the German Gallery / venue Club 2. Since anyone can copy/paste to whom these e-mails are sent, I now get newsletters from about 35 other German ’art’lovers. And I even never ever subscribed to the Club 2 agenda in the first place. GGRRRRRRR (or should I say Scheisse??)
5. Gerard Cosloy’s request-e-mails for lists, news and other exciting stuff. Makes you wonder if life really should be exciting....
Solex — Split (single, calm down)
Solex can be heard on one side of a new 12" issued by the Pittsburgh label Progeria. Sharing the disc with The 1985, Solex are captured doing a version of Echo & Bunnymen’s “The Cutter,” a highlight of recent live shows. For more information see Progeria Records.
Archived, for your pleasure
If you somehow missed the recent Solex Peel session, there’s no need to hang yourself (unless, of course, there’s something else bothering you). The entire performance can be heard, for the next few weeks at least, at the BBC website.
Solex — Live webcast/broadcast/all-star cast, today
Solex will be debuting new material today, 9/20 between 5pm and 7pm EST as part of a Peel Session performed LIVE in the BBC Studios at Maida Vale. You can hear the session by going to the BBC website. We’ll be announcing dates/times for an upcoming The Wisdom Of Harry Peel Session in our next update.
“Solex In A Slipshod Style” has been covered by the Walkabouts on their new Glitterhouse full-length, which is very good news ’cause we’re always being told that the Walkabouts are bigger than Jesus overseas. Maybe they meant Jesus Alou. You can check out a nifty Solex video interview at Insound (look for the “cinema” section).
Two new videos are available for your viewing pleasure in real video formula; “Athens, OH” from Solex, a rarely seen, but awfully impressive clip directed by Gina Birch, a formidable recording artist in her own right (Raincoats, Hangovers). We’ve also got “This Time” from Bardo Pond, who are to video what Dwight Eisenhower was to color television — ahead of their time.
05/25/00 — We asked Elisabeth of Solex for some news, and unlike 90% of the roster, she totally came through:
“The 30th of April we Dutch people celebrated the Queen’s birthday. Of course everybody dresses up in anything with the colour orange and gets totally wasted. But there’s also a so-called ‘free-market’ in Amsterdam... it turns the city into a giant yard sale.
So here’s my top 5 queens-day-steals 2000:
- A shortwave microphone... looks better than it sounds
- A locked suitcase... my friends are still putting out bets on the contents...
- A book about male hygiene
- A book about cooking during wartime
- ‘At budokan’ from Cheap Trick
I will write a tour report after the upcoming Solex tour in the US (26th of May until the 24th of June). If anyone wants to read about (here’s another top 5):
- Motel 6 adventures
- How the West was REALLY won
- How to fix a tire in 5 minutes
- The REAL West side story
- One-size-fit-all-t-shirts... yeah right...”
You are cordially invited to sign up for the Solex mailing list. Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “SUBSCRIBE” as the subject.
Cybercast! Solex live at the Knitting Factory, NYC, this Saturday, 5/27/00 @ 10:30 pm on Digital Club Network (look under artists; Christina says Netscape works best with this site).
Also: Solex will be performing an instore at Good Records in Dallas on June 15th, at 6PM. 617 N. Good Latimer - Dallas, TX 75206 - 214.752.4663
Solex will be touring across the US in May and June, check the tour dates section details. To coincide with these historic events, the one and only Randy Costanza is releasing a Solex / 1985 split single.
New Solex EP "Athens, OH" out today in Europe and in your finer US independent shops. Includes:
1) "Athens, OH" (album version)
2) "Chris The Birthday Boy" remixed by Steward
3) "Randy Costanza (Push Up)" remix by Mount Florida
4) "Another Tune Like Not Fade Away (Throwing My Life Away in 3/4 Time)" remix by Kid 606
5) "That's What You Get With People Like That On Cruises Like These" remix by The Sisterhood Of Convoluted Thinkers with Christian Quick
6) "Another Tune Like Not Fade Away"
remix by Damian O'Neill
Solex will be touring across the US in May and June, check the tour dates section details.
After a successful string of German dates, Solex return to the UK this week for a show at London’s Union Chapel (29 March) as part of the John Peel Sessions Live series. Twitch of Mount Florida should be making an appearance at this one, which makes sense, ’cause there’s a Mount Florida remix of "Randy Costanza" available on the new Solex "Athens, OH" 12" (Matador Europe), which also features music from Pick Up remixed by Kid 606, Damien O’Neill (That Petrol Emotion) and others. You can hear an MP3 of the "Randy Costanza" remix at the Matador Europe site.
Khan’s "Karakoe Remixes, Pt. 1" is a promo-only 12" of karaoke versions of material from the 'Passport' album, and features contributions from Solex, Julee Cruise, Tara DeLong and more. Beautiful people will be getting their copies free in the mail; attractive, but not quite as beautiful people can get 'em at selected shops with the purchase of 'Passport.' Either that, or try E-bay.
from the 10 Year show review: The Solex trio specialize in making something very hard sound and look very easy — mental stimulation shouldn't be this much fun, and usually isn't.
Tuesday = 3 new releases. The second album from Dutch sampling artist Solex, "Pick Up" is a wilder, sneakier, more layered album than "Solex Vs the Hitmeister." If you haven't heard her first album, then you're in for 2 great surprises.
Today marks the first of the three 10th Anniversary shows in London. Performing tonight are: Khan, Unwound, Solex, Cat Power and Sleater-Kinney. We couldn't be more excited. Although, we'd be more excited if we could actually go to the London shows. Complete recap of the weekend's festivities in next week's mailer. Look for it.
Two new MP3s for the taking: "Athens, OH" by SOLEX from her upcoming album "Pick Up" out September 14th, and "Married for the Weekend" by the DEMOLITION DOLL RODS from their recent release "TLA."
Solex, aka Elisabeth Esselink, is set to embark on a North American tour with Cibo Matto next month and we'd like you all to attend. If you can't, then we'd like to offer this anecdote from Elizabeth on the trails of music videomaking:
"Last monday I shot a video with a French girl named Gloria Pedemonte. Never had heard of her before. After some e-mailing back and forth, we came with the crazy idea to film something on a boat. I would lip-sync the song 'That's what you get with people like that on cruises like these', while standing on the edge of the boat. Every time I'm about to finish the sentence some floatable object would be thrown against me and I would fall into the water. So I had lots of dry clothes with me and about 20 towels. I could borrow an old sloop of a friend, and we sailed around some kind of Island in Amsterdam called K.N.S.M. Island."
"When I spoke to the boat owner he didn't tell me he tried to restore the cabin of the boat, and that it wasn't finished yet, that is,....there was no cabin. To make it short,..a lot of Amsterdam's fishermen applauded every time I had to change clothes (kept my underwear on though...I may be prude but not stupid). Another friend came along on the boat, not for a screentest of course but 'cause his dog is the most friendly waterloving dog I've ever met,...or so I thought. Actually my friend had to throw his dog into the water. (maybe he was afraid of all the strange airbells that came to the surface,.....an old corpse perhaps ???) The next day I heard the water is so heavily polluted that I expect funny bulbs on my skin now any moment."
Solex will be releasing a new 7" near the end of June in advance of their forthcoming album "Pick Up." The single is titled "Randy Costanza" after a Pittsburgh, PA scenester. It seems Solex became OBSESSED with this guy after they played Pittsburgh on their first tour. Costanza is a comic artist who has been putting out the self published comics "Everything Sucks" and "So Shut Off" for years now. The comics are quite confessional at times and have largely to do with him and his brother. A Matador insider asked him what his family thought about the comics after the local paper ran a lengthy article on him. "Oh, they don't know about them," says Costanza. "I hid the newspaper that day."
Solex is still recording and has graced us with a new, unreleased song for Matador's MP3 page, one she recorded for the Dutch movie "Abeltje." Elisabeth reports that after the nice artists finished their songs for the soundtrack, two "major shitproducers" (a Dutch term referring to the engineers behind hits such as "Rock Me Amadeus") took over. The producer duo is called Bolland and Bolland, so Solex's song is heretofore known as "Solex vs. Bolland en Bolland."
Official Solexsite - Some drawings, a tour diary, links and other goodies from Elizabeth. This month there's an MP3 of a tune Solex made for a Dutch talkshow called 'de Plantage'. Solex, btw, are working on a new album that Matador plans to release in the fall of 1999.