Solvoid is a mystery shrouded in a riddle. Three brilliant EPs have appeared from this artist online in the last several months, each one a tricky mixture of two-step, electro, breaks, and 8-bit arpeggios, with hints of the mystic, the playful, and the divine. As with Athena, they seem sprung fully-formed from the head of their creator, and yet there’s almost no discernible information out there about who he (she? they? it?) is. The level of technique and process in the releases point to someone who has been around the block a few times, but just what they might have done before is unclear. And the surprising responses I got back to my interview questions cloud the matter more.

But you know what? That’s awesome. Here’s a creator who just wants you to listen, believing that personal information is completely separate from that experience.

Listening to Solvoid’s clean-but-intricate production, you get the sense that you are moving through a neon maze, each burst of tones setting off sonic events that skitter off on their own paths. But the steady skipping pulse keeps it together, and when you let yourself sink into it, it’s like wrapping your head around a sacred geometry whose purpose is to make you dance.

All the Solvoid stuff we know to exist is contained within the collage below, all of it available for free. What we do know about Solvoid we find in three places:
Note: that SoundCloud page also does say “Berlin,” which … okay, doesn’t narrow things down much. -Ed.

So, read on if you want to become even less enlightened, although perhaps ultimately wiser and at least entertained.

Questions for Solvoid

Are you Burial?

Burial of whom? Did someone die?

No, really, are you Burial?

Burial is the outmoded death ceremony of an obsolete culture. Instead, I would hope for my particles to be scattered amongst the spiral arms of NGC 3294.

If you’re not Burial, who are you?

An Earth philosopher called Nietzsche once said, “I am one thing, my writings are another.” The same holds true for recorded music. Yes, I played a role in its creation, but ultimately, each song becomes its own living entity: going places I’ll never go, meeting people I’ll never know, taking on meanings never intended. Besides, the true source of music is cosmic, and I am merely a function of the universe at large. I could not exist without a billion untold events that led to my birth. Similarly, my hand in manifesting this music is subject to innumerable factors beyond my awareness, ability or control. Music is a manifestation of the universe itself: the unique expression of an infinite process. Everyone already knows me.

If, as I think might be the case, you’ve put out music before, why the focus on this “new” sound? What are you exploring?

Solvoid was initiated to explore a unique field of quantum interpenetration in a distant quadrant. Devastation struck – a disaster that changed the project’s course forever. We since learned there are basic assumptions about reality that hold us back from the truth. Solvoid was developed as a mechanism to expose these hidden phenomena.

Any plans to sign these EPs to a label? Or is Bandcamp where they will remain?

When your hours are spent threading the dark latticework of infinite flux, traditional infrastructures serve little purpose.

Any further Solvoid material in the works? Remixes or further self/non-self releases?

If a northern wind continues to howl for nine consecutive nights, look to the brightest star of Boötes – then you will have your sign.

Who would win in a fight, El-B or Horsepower Productions?

We are all manifestations of the same endless process; beyond this essential foundation, nothing lasts. Why fight?

CDM contributor Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon, is a San Francisco-based DJ, promoter, writer, blogger, historian, archivist, and fan of electronic music.

  • markLouis

    [laughs] Hey, remember “Klaatu” were really the Beatles getting together under a fake name?!

    Come on, technology isn’t really very hard when you do it every day and studio musicians do it every day. Great technique could be almost anybody from the studio world. Remember “David and David” came out of nowhere (well, studios) and disappeared? I recently saw a pop media list of “famous” drummers that didn’t even list Steve Gadd. [!] Whenever I hear good stuff from some “unknown” I just assume it’s some anonymous studio wizards having fun, inching into the light for a minute to have a smile.

    • Peter Kirn

      Sure, though this suggests someone who has done *something* before, of course! 😉

    • mattearp

      Actually, you guessed it. Solvoid is Steve Gadd. :)

      It’s true though, studio wizards is a good way to put it, and I often wonder about them – I used to work in film and we would have tons of cds lying around of film music – and some of it was just like the stuff I was DJing, but made by people I’d never heard of – but probably if some of it had come out on a label I followed I would have been all over it. I suppose fame, like taste, is all relative.

      Actually one artist I discovered who’s explicitly bridging that gab between film/tv music and “listening” music (for lack of a better word) is The Cogent Project, who had a track on our Frag’mnts comp. Check him out.

  • Jason Phoenix

    Its Banksy, isn’t it? 😉

  • kent williams

    There is so much great music that gets put out anymore, I despair of keeping current.
    Another one I stumbled on is Miyuki who says she’s a Japanese woman living in Siberia, who has another interesting take on post-Burial neo-two step.

    I find Miyuki just as mysterious as Solvoid, because though there are pictures of her on her bandcamp site, they look like professionally photographed models, and perhaps not even pictures of the same person.

    I miss the old days, when all you had to worry about is whether The Tuss was Aphex Twin.

    • mattearp

      Thanks for the tip! Yeah, awesome stuff. Another artist in the same vein I’ve been digging as well is Volor Flex In fact, if you really want to feel like you’re missing out, check out the roster of artist on Oragami Sound and all it’s sublabels – you’ll be like “Who are these 100+ artists and where did they all come from all at once?”

    • Peter Kirn

      Sounds like we need a follow-up post, just with these few … got listening for myself this week!

    • vinayk

      totally agree – too much stuff for me to listen to properly – LOL! I need a shortlist..

  • Joshua Young

    Wow it’s quite a no-brainer of a concept when you think about it; an artist in the Information Age who doesnt want their entire life story (including underwear size, date of virginity loss, etc) to be quite so discoverable…. Very smart, since I remember part of what was so fascinating about bands in the “old” days was that you’d fall in love with an album like “Houses of the Holy” and have only the enigmatic album cover to go on… It used to do my teenage head in trying to figure out just exactly what or who this Led Zeppelin juggernaut was really all about! Too much info really can ruin things, and it’s good too see that some artists today feel the same way as I do. All too often people will take the quick and easy fiver instead of holding out for the gold ring. D’yer knowurimean, grasshopper (don’t answer that, actually)?

    • Peter Kirn

      Yeah, of course. Although, it should be clear, the main point to us here is that we really like the music – and would do so whether or not Solvoid were anonymous.

      (That said, Fake Deadmau5 seems ready to happen, a la Fake Steve Jobs.)

  • perpetual3

    Lots of use of the passive voice – Solvoid merely describes reality using axiomatic expressions of a dichotomous reality. Thus, Solvoid’s attempts at remaining abstracted from traditional infrastructures fail to withstand scrutiny because Solvoid builds his ideological foundations on exactly the same philosophical and logical underpinnings as the traditional infrastructures he wishes to escape from.

    In fact, this type of “anti-fame” falls flat on its face because it is precisely this kind of attention that Solvoid wishes to generate and attract – attention to an ego creation that transcends or rises above “traditional infrastructures” apparently unfit or incapable of supporting the personality behind the creations. This kind of “anti-fame” really could be called “meta-fame”, to indicate fame on a metaphysical level.

    Ultimately, the hype (anti-hype? meta-hype?) generated by Solvoid actually functions to prevent the music from being “its own living entity”, keeping the mystery “phenomena” well hidden, perhaps even more hidden then without the mystery. Without the mystery, would anybody even care? Isn’t it the mystery that gives the music its meaning in this case? A mystery clothed in “cosmic”, esoteric terminology, designed to infuse the music with transcendence, purpose, meaning, beyond its two-step, electronic, pop-music roots?

    Ha ha – I love it.

    Bought all the EPs.

    • Peter Kirn

      Yes, but if we unmask him, who will keep Gotham City safe? (I’ll, uh, still cover Solvoid if we find out who she/he is…)

    • mattearp

      I’m telling you, Solvoid is totally Steve Gadd.

    • perpetual3

      I found out – my paypal receipt told me who he is, and a google search revealed his full identity.

      And my point is kind of made – the mystery obliterated by traditional infrastructures because those structures must be used.

      Is the music even the same anymore, now that the mystery creating the hype has been obliterated, the hype to fades into the distance…

      Should I let the world know through CDM?

      Things happen too quickly nowadays…

  • wingo shackleford

    I really dig this sound. I’ll probably drop one of these tracks in my next DJ set.

  • GYRE

    Really enjoyed the mystery. I agree with not putting your person or self at the focus point of your music. But without all those ‘personal’ things the music would never be there. Personally i am very proud of all the good and bad things that have happened to me. I guess i have only ever hidden/ separated those aspects f my life because i had nothing to show for them.. If we were not being suppressed, we would nt be feeling the need to express in the ways we do.

  • Roger Carruthers

    Netochka Nezvanova, mellowed with age?