Two things about Solace immediately stand out, the first a technical detail and the other sonic. The first is that the ambient setting, in its originating form, lasts over five hours,
while the second is that, though the source material is a nearly hour-long alto saxophone performance by Dr. Jan Berry Baker, the result retains little of the instrument's natural, identifiable sound. Instead, the saxophone material, having been radically transformed by Thompson using re-synthesis techniques, is heard as glassy, crystalline tones that play like fragile sounds softly resonating within a cavernous empty space. Don't let the five hours detail scare you, either, as the recording presents a time-scaled and thus easily digestible fortytwo-minute version of the work.
In the project's multi-hour form, no repetition occurs as the music continually renews itself, and a similar quality characterizes the shorter version, too. Despite that, the piece retains a clear uniformity and coherence throughout its gentle flow, especially when it unfolds as a single uninterrupted piece (despite the fact that it's presented as six indexed parts). The experience for the listener is immersive and calming, with Solace allowing the receptive listener to enter into an almost trance-like state during playback. Thompson's own description of the work as a kind of “sonic tinting” ideal for colouring the sound spaces of multiple architectural spaces is apt.
~ Textura (2012)