16 Oct 2019
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Sola Rosa - Single review: Leave a Light On

03 May 2018 // A review by Darryl Baser

The man behind Sola Rosa, Auckland's Andrew Spraggon, has returned with a tune as strong as anything he's released previously.

A steady bass groove wends its way around a thumping kick drum which is off-set by an excellently syncopated high hat, perfectly timed between kick and snare, to be on the 'and' of the phrase.

The bass keyboard is on the ‘one’ beat and high keys are on the three, adding to layers of syncopation.

This groove is so fat it could make a sumo look like the skinny kid in class.

Sola Rosa has been a mostly solo project for Andrew Spraggon since 1999, and on this tune he’s partying like it is Sola Rosa’s inception year.

Kevin Mark Trail, of UK band The Streets, adds a high soul tenor which soars over the sequences as the lead vocals, and which is beautifully accompanied be Kiwi powerhouse singer, LA Mitchell.

Best known for making seriously funky electronic music, Andrew Spraggon has been refining the Sola Rosa sound for two decades. Leave a Light On was recorded in Spraggon’s well kitted out home studio and is the first single from the forthcoming release called In Spaces.

Guitars include a beautifully fuzzed out lead melody and are provided by Matt Short and Dixon Nacey.

★★★★ (4 stars)


Review written by Darryl Baser

 

About Sola Rosa

Since 1999 Sola Rosa’s Andrew Spraggon has been tantalising listeners with otherworldly aural experiences, honing his craft and taking Sola Rosa from a self-released one man project to fully-fledged live powerhouse along the way. He’s kept good company on the road and in the studio, Sola Rosa counting members of Dimmer, Goldenhorse, Pluto and Sommerset amongst the ranks over the years, not to mention pilfering the best members of Che Fu, King Kapisi and Anika Moa’s bands and tapping the talents of internationally renowned artists like Nathan Haines and Spikey Tee. Add to the mix a succession of highly regarded releases the world over on stunning labels that include household names Ministry of Sound, Guidance, Different Drummer, Stereo Deluxe, and Satellite K, and you’ll see why so many eager ears and heavy-lidded eyes are always fixed to fasten on what Sola Rosa does next.

First coming to local music-lovers’ attention as guitarist and vocalist for angular rock band Cicada in the 90s, over the course of the last 9 years Spraggon has been on the receiving end of a Tui (2001’s 'Solarized'), b-net awards (for 2000’s 'Entrance To Skyway' and 2003’s 'Haunted Out-takes'), and a bevy of other accolades and nominations as Sola Rosa, but there’s little doubt when pressing play on 2009's 'Get It Together' that it is his finest accomplishment to date. Taking in a wide swathe of genres, and walking an ever-erratic line between organic and electronic elements, Sola Rosa’s songs continue to pull off Spraggon’s patented trick of electrifying your ears while ensuring that your feet don’t get confused along the way. Three years in the making, 'Get It Together' is best differentiated from its predecessors by a more beat-driven, direct, dance-demanding sound.

Picking up where the performance-based 'Moves On' album left off in 2005, there’s a sweating, smoking live band at the heart of the new record, made up of long-term members of the Rosa roster - Will Scott (drums), Matt Short (bass), and Ben White (guitar). Spraggon studio sorcery has then come into play, tooling up 'Get It Together' for maximum dancefloor impact, and bolstering the album with a roll-call of vocalists, musicians, and compositional contributors running headlong into Sola Rosa’s sonic stirrings at full force – with vocal cuts from Spikey Tee (best known for his work with Jah Wobble, Bomb The Bass, Mark Rae and on some of Sola Rosa’s finest moments); German globetrotter, poet, and singer Bajka; UK MC Serocee; and emerging Wellingtonian songstress Iva Lamkum. Underpinning these outstanding lyrical performances and further illuminating the album’s instrumentals you’ll find an eclectic batch of collaborators that includes the likes of Victoria Kelly, Julien Dyne, Juse, Scratch 22, Hadyn Godfrey, John Highsted, James Duncan, and Miguel Fuentes (who’s played with Isaac Hayes, George Benson, Grover Washington, Patti La Bell and other luminaries).

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sola Rosa

Releases

In Spaces
Year: 2018
Type: EP
Magnetics
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Solarized (Refreshed)
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Low And Behold, High And Beyond
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Get It Together - The Remixes
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Get It Together
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Moves On
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Haunted Out Takes
Year: 2003
Type: Album
The Ready Now EP
Year: 2003
Type: EP
Solarized
Year: 2001
Type: Album
Entrance To Skyway
Year: 2001
Type: EP

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