Never Alone, Often Lonely is the debut album from Solbore – the namesake of Czech Argentinean songwriter and producer Vlad D. Matveikov.
The record is a meditation on change and impermanence, tinged with melancholy and punctuated by moments of wonder and peace. Sonically, Solbore draws from across the worlds of neo-classical, drone and ambient music, combining the neo-romantic minimalism of Dustin O’Halloran, the shimmering soundscapes of Chihei Hatakeyama, the vulnerability of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s compositions, and the lush strings of Keaton Henson’s Six Lethargies.
It’s an intimate and deeply human record that expresses the fragility, self-doubt, and eventual resolution that the artist experienced across 2020. While the pandemic ground the world to a halt, the producer found himself bedridden at the end of a long-term relationship, the loss of a loved one, and recovering from an injury that left him unable to walk for three months.
“The injury forced me to well and truly slow down in a way I’d never had the chance to,” Solbore explains. “It made me reflect on where life had taken me to this point – and while I found there were a lot of things I was proud of, I was also mortified at how much time I had wasted, and how many opportunities I had foregone.”
“Even though I was surrounded by great musicians and friends, I realised I was profoundly insecure about my creative output, my musical ability and to some extent my identity. Thankfully, the pandemic gave me the opportunity to adjust the course of my life – and this record became a big part of that process.”
Solbore drew on his extensive network of musicians to realize his vision, collaborating with a range of artists including Kristian Shelley (Inwards), Devin Yucel (Delta Sleep), Lachlan R. Dale (Hashshashin), and Elliot Berman (Varsity Star). But as he was preparing his final mixes, one last burst of inspiration came from a rather unexpected place.
“I was deeply affected watching the news of the war in Russia, and managed to connect with the Kaska String Section – an orchestra in Ukraine who were doing their best to continue making art while living through hell. We collaborated on the final tracks of the record and it’s an honour to feel their imprint on this body of work. It ties the whole record together, and was the final step in a long journey from being unable to walk, alone in a closed and quiet world, to finally being able to release this record into a world that has opened up again.”
As his first full-length record under the Solbore moniker, Never Alone, Often Lonely is a remarkable achievement from Matveikov, and speaks to his many years of involvement with musicians from across music under his Small Pond label and production studio. This is an album of deep and honest introspection, of rehabilitation and reconnection, and healing that listeners won’t help but connect with.
Solbore’s Never Alone, Often Lonely is out on 16 February 2024 on Rainbow Bridge.
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