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Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Review - Pick Up

Artist: Solex

Posted on Wed, Jan 19, 2000 at 4:00 AM

Elisabeth Esselink is Solex, a one-woman show from Holland. What started as musical tinkering on an old sampler, a cheap keyboard and an endless stream of unsold records led to a demo and an instant first release. "Solex vs. The Hitmeister" (1998) was a blissed-out blend of at-odds sounds and breathy streams of consciousness that got embraced by the emerging international avant-collage pop crowd.

More self-referential than a Wu-Tang track, Solex is yet another larger-than-life persona. Call it Beck-meets-Björk somewhere near Portishead, but labels are useless when someone like Esselink won't play by the rules. The anti-games continue on the follow-up, "Pick Up," but with a fresh twist.

The library of samples on "Pick Up" were, well, picked up from various live sources, yielding the ultimate juxtaposition: organic elements coming alive in a very mechanical way. Plucked violins, bongos, jazzed-up piano, swirling horns and xylophone are blurred into magic mush. Lyrically, Solex is just as inventively odd. Tourists, Chinese "take-away," bad haircuts and underwear all find their way into Esselink's nursery-rhyme delivery.

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