When we mention drones and drums, often people think about Nadja or Fearfallburning or maybe even of James Welburn's work under his own name. Yet, Barchan seems a little different. For starters, Tomas isn't a repetitive drone drummer. He gives the whole a freejazz sentiment, using his instrument in a highly experimental fashion and constantly altering his partaking in this act. Although at first this might sound quite chaotic, this approach to drums add a lot to the music, at points even out-droning James.
James himself, of course, blasts out layers of drones, soundscapes and atonal bass sounds out of his beloved instrument. Yet even here he diverts from most drone acts like the ones I mentioned earlier. In stead of nice, soothing loops, James often goes for controlled noise and a freaked-out sound. At points he barely avoids drowning in harsh noise, which isn't easy when the energetic but nervous sound of the drums reaches its highlight.
Anyway, on to the multi-dimensional thing because that's where this album truly excells. You can listen to this on different volumes, creating completely different albums. On a low volume, 'Soliton' is gentle, jazzy ambient music, perfectly suited as background music for a number of everyday activities. Here you might indeed compare this to Aidan Baker and co. It never gets obtrusive but remains on an enjoyable level, a bit of an all-family thing maybe.
But then we turn the volume up and the whole turns into a massive piece of dark drone jazz, something in the neighborhood of Dead Neanderthals for instance. Still listenable but definitely grabbing your attention and diverting you away from those every day activities. At this point, some people might actually think there's too much jazz involved, but sometimes you can't have 'too much' jazz. On this level 'Soliton' shows a bit more intensity.
Play this very loud and you could compare the crushing intensity of this music with sludge doom acts like AmenRa or Eyehategod. At this volume level, the crash-cymbals almost sound like screaming vocalists while the rest of the music just takes you over in a trance of drones, drums and noise. Louder still and even Sunn O))) will have to bow down to the might of Barchan, especially with the fierce blast beats at the end. Needless to say that this album is stunning.
This multi-dimension scope is quite unique and adds a lot of credibility to these musicians. The album is one monolithing track, lasting almost an hour but it constantly changes. Different elements continuously fade in and out, giving you a chance to breathe in between the intense, crushing passages. So 'Soliton' is perfectly suited for fans of jazz, ambient, drone and even doom fans, if they're a little open-minded that is.