“Unexpected settings of main melodic and harmonic themes make it sound like a live mix every time”
I first came across Alek Soltirov a couple of weeks back when I was researching tracks that highlighted fusion in music. After this chance discovery, I decided to delve a little deeper and discovered that Alek has in fact been around for a few years, releasing music through a range of digital platforms including Soundcloud. This is also where I found out that Alek has more than a ‘bit of a thing’ for utilising samples from other songs and music eras within his own music.
Scrolling through Alek’s playlists, it quickly became evident to me that his use of samples, both vocal and instrumental, serve to create surprising and very clever musical links as well as make for very appealing listening. Take his track modelled on Patrice Rushen’s Forget Me Nots as a prime example. The opening immediately sets the tone with Rushen’s spoken introduction before a heavy and relentless bass drum beat sets up the house style which continues throughout the track. Cleverly, the main vocal hook ‘sending you forget me nots’ is faded in so subtly that you can only hear single syllables for the first few repetitions before the vocal opens out into the well-known chorus. In some ways, the placement of this first full setting of the chorus is highlighted a little too much for my liking and I find the pitch of the synths a little distracting.
In contrast however, Alek’s setting of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, opens up with the heavy bass beat and hints at the instrumental accompanying riff from the original song which, like Rushen’s, is gradually extended until the full version is heard. This occurs just before we hear Green start the sing the iconic chorus for the first time. As the track progresses, there are many clever and unexpected settings of the main melodic and harmonic themes from the original which make it sound like a live mix every time. So what of the piece that drew me to Alek in the first place?
Firstly, the title Jazz Fusion, doesn’t exactly keep anything a secret and with jazz being a real passion of mine I am always intrigued and inspired by how modern-day artists and producers utilise this in their tracks. In this one, some of the same ideas highlighted earlier play a very important role in the track, for example the use of vocal sampling. Here the words and syllables are gradually combined to form an unapologetically bold statement of ‘This is Jazz Fusion’. Other jazz influences work alongside this including the use of 7th and 9th chords heard on the brass (later transferred to a synth) and a solo trumpet riff which comes back on numerous occasions. When these parts are combined it makes for a highly successful track. However, in my opinion there are elements that do not work so well such as the female vocal, which set in a traditional verse form, seems a little out-of-place, and the constant repetition of ideas which unfortunately had me zoning out and questioning if this track is actually Jazz Fusion at all.
However, while this conclusion may well seems quite ironic (especially considering it is the track that got me into Alek’s music in the first place) it does serve a purpose which is a full appreciation of just how much Alek’s production and musicality has developed over a relatively short space of time. This certainly won’t be the last time I discover his music.
To discover more of Alek’s music visit his soundcloud page here: https://soundcloud.com/aleksoltirov