Sound — 8
Jean Baudin is a solo bassist and member of American band Nuclear Rabbit. The basses he uses on Solace have eleven strings. Yes, eleven. Baudin uses a wide range of techniques, including tapping and slapping to play these basses, and frequently uses both hands (and all fingers) to tap both a bassline and melody at the same time. Solace has a distinct musical direction, seeming to take influence from New Age artists, and songs showcase Baudin's talent, without sacrificing the quality of writing, or becoming self-indulgent. From the tranquil 'Frosty Acres', to the mezmerizing arpeggios of 'Transcend', from the funky slap of 'Krackatoa' to the beautiful melody of 'Vanishing', this album delivers work of great musical and technical prowess. To get the most enjoyment out of this album, however, speakers need a good bass response, however - the quality of sound suffers greatly through cheap speakers like most laptop's, as Baudin's lowest string is tuned to C# (One octave below bass E, and then another step and a half down!). I am not aware of any further solo albums coming out soon, but if there is any word on one, I will definitely purchase it without a second thought.
Lyrics — 8
There are no lyrics, this album is solely instrumental. The score here is only given to not affect the average score.
Overall Impression — 8
Baudin's talent is undeniable, and he has an excellent grasp of musicality and a skill for songwriting. Solo albums are often accused of holding far too much self-gratifying pieces for the artist, rather than providing good music. So thank God, Baudin gives us well-thought out pieces like 'So Far, Yet So Close', and 'Be Water, My Friend'. Sure, I hate the fact that through my laptop, the low C# is probably killing my speakers through sheer rumble, but get a good clear stereo system, and every note shines. The production is superb, and since there is only one instrument, the clarity of sound is also great, as it is unaffected by any clutter. On the first listen, it's hard to believe that one man could be playing the entire songs at the same time. Some of this is due to his tasteful use of a delay effect, and some type of loop, occasionally, I'm quite sure. The co-ordination in his fingers is astounding, however, eight finger tapping in perfect synchronicity. An inspiration to anyone, particularly extended range bassists or guitarists. The album is available from Jean Baudin's website in a CD format, or as a well-priced good quality 192kb MP3 download, giving overseas fans a chance to not pay for shipping.