Solitaire: Nocturnes & Fearless (1995/1997)

Product Description

FEARLESS, 1995 Recycle or Die 07/19/1995
1 One Small Step…
2 Tribes
3 Eclipse
4 Soleil
5 Fearless
6 Awakening

1 Kabbalah
2 Nocturne
3 Simulation of Gods
4 One Minute Warning
5 Alhambra
6 Drift
7 Spirit Cave
8 Revelation

Genres: Electronic, Ambient, Ambient Beats
For Fans Of: Brian Eno, Röyksopp, and Jon Hassell

• The digital release of the final two albums from Germany’s Solitaire
• 3 tracks were used in the 1998 film BLADE
YouTube video of BLADE’s opening scene with Solitaire’s “One Small Step…”

Available for the first time on digital: Fearless (1995) and Nocturnes (1997). Founding member Elmar Schulte passed away in late 2022; Projekt is working with his widow and Ruediger Gleisberg to bring the full catalog to digital. And — of course — it’s Name-Your-Price!

On these mid-90s albums, Elmar & Ruediger created a hallucinogenic mélange of progressive-electronics. The tracks branch out into a variety of styles amending their deep ambient space music sound with tribal grooves, ghostly darkened pulses, and a taste of the then-burgeoning techno ambient sounds. Excerpts from 3 tracks off Fearless appear in the blockbuster 1998 vampire film Blade starring Wesley Snipes. The electric guitar, unexpected samples, and a driving groove on “One Small Step…” caught the ear of director Stephen Norrington, who included Solitaire’s music in the film.

★ Solitaire’s History

Solitaire was founded in 1989 by Elmar Schulte and Ruediger Gleisberg. Both lived in the small German town of Paderborn and met in a music store. They soon moved into an old apartment and began on their first songs together which were released on their 1990 debut CD Altered States on Bernd Kistenmacher’s Berlin-based label Musique Intemporelle. Two days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 11th, 1989, Solitaire played their first concert in a packed-to-capacity church in Berlin.

After the successful debut, the two musicians parted ways and Elmar met Steve Roach, who performs on a track on the second Solitaire CD, Plains And Skies. This was followed by several Solitaire concerts with Elmar and Steve in Germany and one in the Netherlands. Ritual Ground followed in 1993, a full collaboration between the two.

In 1995 Elmar and Ruediger got together again and intensive work resulted in Fearless in 1995 and Nocturnes in 1997. Fearless is a very experimental production, a mixture of ambient, ethno rhythms and psychedelic sound collages. Although the two musicians did not expect anyone to be interested in this unusual production, the release was successful and three tracks were selected for the Hollywood film Blade. Nocturnes is produced in a similar style and was released on Arya, the side label of Italy’s Amplexus. Guest musicians on both albums include Amir Baghiri, who became a well-known ambient musician himself in the ensuing years.

Elmar tragically died in 2022 after a long illness and Ruediger, in consultation with Elmar’s widow, remastered this reissue of their final two albums.

All songs composed by Elmar Schulte and Ruediger Gleisberg, except “Drift”, composed by Elmar and Adda Schade and “Awakening”, “Alhambra” and “Spirit Cave” composed by Elmar and Amir Baghiri.

Projekt release: December 8 2023
Originally released: 1995 & 1997

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  1. Reviews Editor

    From Exposé
    Tribal rhythms and ribbons of floating ambient textures in combination have a way of pulling the listener into an irresistible soundworld that offers a mystical groove and a widescreen landscape for meditation all at the same time. That’s not the only thing one will find on these final two albums from Germany’s Solitaire, but it’s certainly a large portion of what’s served up on these two. In the beginning, in 1989, Solitaire was the duo of Elmar Schulte and Ruediger Gleisberg. And their debut album Altered States was released in 1990, but by the second album, Plains and Skies, Gleisberg and Schulte had parted ways, with Schulte now beginning to work with Steve Roach, and by the third album, Ritual Ground, Roach had become a full member of the duo. By 1995 Schulte and Gleisberg had begun working together again and released the six track album Fearless, which features guest players on guitar (Tim Steil and Rainer Schultz) percussion (Amir Baghiri) and Astrid Soika (vocals) and was followed in 1997 by their final album Nocturnes, which featured several additional guests Adda Schade on e-bow, Danae on vocals (and lyrics) and Amir Baghiri again on didgeridoo and percussion.

    The ethnic and tribal elements on both albums blossom into something splendidly beautiful and stunningly unique, but it’s the voices, more than anything — and especially on the first two tracks from Nocturnes (“Kabbalah” and the title cut), that reach way above and beyond any of the standard electronic and ambient sounds that one is likely to encounter anywhere. Fearless opens with the interesting number “One Small Step” that takes a repeating spoken loop from the 1969 moon landing and plots against an intensely funky bottom beat with all sorts of strange ambient and psychedelic sounds floating in the ether around it; a similar funky beat amid spoken sounds is achieved on “One Minute Warning” from the Noctirne album. Perhaps it’s the more expansive tracks like “Drift,” “Simulation of Gods,” and “Tribes” with their undercurrents of ethnic drums and psychedelic textures that do the most to open up a trance-like feeling from the listener’s perspective. This combined release is just brimming with beauty and power throughout its fourteen tracks, delivering the goods on many levels. -Peter Thelen

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