Solar Year are Ben Borden and David Ertel; hailing from Montreal, the city that truly never sleeps (if the quantity and quality of new music coming out of there is anything to judge by) the pair make wistful and nostalgic electronic pop with a sharp edge. Their tracks are often overwhelmingly evocative, mixing synths and vocals so deftly that they become a soothing rush of noise, and take on a celestial quality that was probably helped in no small part by the fact that they recorded the majority of their debut album ‘Waverly’ in a church (the altar of which you can also see on the front cover). Despite their synth-washed 80s call-backs, though, they cite leftfield techno as a huge inspiration on what they do, with Lee Gamble, Kuedo, Photek and Laurel Halo all making appearances in this new mix.
The duo are set to release ‘Waverly’ next week – listen to it full here, thanks to the NME – and so to celebrate, they’ve crafted a dense and dreamy 40 minute mix for us. Dive in below, and keep on scrolling to read our chat with them and the all-important tracklist.
Hello SOLAR YEAR, how are you today?
We’re good, heat and lethargy.
In what conditions was this mix recorded?
We recorded this where David is staying, may or may not be the only squat left in NYC.
Are there any particular tracks included that bear any deeper significance for you?
We really are feeling the last track Lay Down in Darkness. We have been fondly remembering Moby lately and were excited to hear Photek updating Moby’s sound in this remix. The track takes R&B vocals and sets them against a kind of epic orchestral production reminiscent of the deeper tracks on the Matrix soundtrack.
You guys hail from Montreal but now reside in NYC Would you say that the change in scenery has had any effect on your creative musical processes at all?
MTL is still home base but we’ve been traveling a bit these last few months, being in a new place is refreshing. We were in hermit mode this last year in MTL so its good to go out and hear new music and play parties. It seems like music here is going more heavy and industrial which I’m all for.
What would you say were the highlights of your recent European tour? Did anywhere in particular blow you away?
Playing CTM fest in Berlin was sick, Berghain is such a insane and unique place (such a cliche I know). Poland was also a great, we had a good time there – blasting Burial while cruising through snow storms on these epic desolate highways.
What are you listening to these days?
Our boys Majical Cloudz (epic and timeless), Kuedo, Dresden Dresses (!!) Dead Can Dance (always) and Rat King.
What’s your favourite musical key?
What’s next for you?
We’re putting out our debut full length Waverly on June 25th and we’re working on an installation at ROX gallery in Manhattan with our friend Nick Etre to celebrate the occasion. So if anyone’s in NYC look out for that. Then we’re heading to Montreal to work at DHC Gallery’s media arts centre getting prepped for a surround sound audio video installation. Then we’re heading out again.
Heathered Pearls – Raising Our Ashes (Solar Year remix)
Christ. – Absolom [3:44]
Syzygy – Dreams of Flying [9:52]
Andy Stott – Numb [14:48]
Kuedo – Work Live Sleep in Collapsing Space (Laurel Halo remix) [20:57]
Onmutu Mechanicks – Constant X [25:24]
Lee Gamble – Dollis Hill [30:00]
Moby – Lie Down in Darkness (Photek remix) [32:29]