A Solenya Summer is here and we're kicking it off with a heartfelt homage to his best bud, Gizmo. Our four-legged loved ones will all eventually be lost, but they will never be truly forgotten. Sometimes it seems that they mean even more to us than our friends and family. Maybe we’re desensitized, but dogs dying in movies always brings on the waterworks - however, people dying in that very same movie? Nothing. Seeing how it seems that our pets can’t quite understand us, we often wish that we could explain to them just how important they are. While his dog, Gizmo or "Mr. Gizzer" may be gone, that’s exactly what Solenya did (along with some friends). Here is his love letter to him.
We open with his playful and whimsical collaboration with B I T, Pennington. With the sounds of Mario mixed with dancing keyboards and synths like something straight out of Adventure Time, not only is this track deeply inspired by video games, but it pulls core memories directly from childhood. While this track breathes warmth and whimsy into the listener, it also reminds us of our first pet(s) that we brought home as children, not unlike Solenya did with Mr. Gizzer.
Just as time marches forward and childhood remains in the rearview mirror, we find ourselves at the second track, 10.08.04. This collaboration between Solenya and King Gold feels like the time in our lives when things become a little less black and white. This track is an understated one, though both heavily melodic and textural with a persistent underlying percussive beat. The world becomes more complex either for better or for worse, but there is always a constant that remains– our pet.
How bizarre it must be as a cat or a dog to watch your owner grow from a child even to just a young adult. Our third track, Tecumseh, reflects just that. Both unnerving and playful, a twisting synth riff pushes throughout most of the track, contrasted by several blistering drops. Solenya and Kin Leyon prove not only that they are masters of suspense and building tension, but they can switch up the feel on a dime. A mixture of beautiful and bizarre is the only way to explain what this song does melodically and emotionally.
The use of space and depth by Solenya and Outer Lives is unprecedented in Feel, and trust me, the listener will feel a lot. This track captures a quick snapshot of a memory – arguably a rather sad one as a pet grows inevitably older. Despite being the shortest track on the EP, it gracefully continues his letter to Gizmo while undoubtedly locking any listener in till’ the end.
Picking up where the rain left off in the track before, our fifth track, Sea of Mist, resurrects the hope felt in the front half of the EP. Solenya and Zenassi deliver no misses, only hits. The pulsating atmospheric melodies bounce from ear to ear while the grooving dance beat pushes forward. Ending with the sound of crickets, we know that night is coming soon.
The sixth and final track, Talum, opens with the sounds of heaven. As our little furry friend draws nearer to the light, synths play in reverse like memories flashing before his eyes. Solenya and Tommy Tsunami give us a slow build brimming with an abundant variety of emotions all blanketed in a thickly layered feeling of loss. Devoid of a traditional drop, the listener is left feeling like something isn’t there– but nothing could be more reflective of the loss of a loved one. In the words of Tommy Tsunami, “my heart is beating in your dreams”.
Solenya, this is possibly one of your best works yet. If Mr. Gizzer inspired something like this I only wish I could have met him. How old were you when you first got Mr. Gizzer? How old was he when he passed?
"I was 10 when I got Gizmo. He was 13 and a half when he passed."
What thoughts ran through your head while working on this project? What do you feel now when listening back to it?
"I started this project as just a new way to create a story of music based off of artwork (the EP’s cover art). Originally it was going to be a story of a person's journey through limbo or ie the forest in the artwork. When I returned home I decided to change the narrative to a soul making its way through limbo in search of another (Gizmo). This gave me the idea to title the EP as a pilgrimage – my mental/psychological journey to finding my friend again once I leave this world. Listening now it is very much an EP swirling with old sounds and themes of my early producing years."
If you had some sort of divine connection to him now, after his passing, and he could speak to you, what do you think he would think of this EP?
"He would think it should be more upbeat, but he liked garage and house so f*ck it."
I feel like dogs always seem to lean more optimistically. In addition to him having great taste, I’m sure he would have loved this EP. What is your favorite part of each track?
With Pennington, I love the detective/paper Mario vibes it gives off as if I am on the train level. 10.08.04 is a very nostalgic piece and I love the water-level vibes paired with DK 64 samples. Tecumseh is the first time my old childhood friend Kin and I ever made a song together and I love the cinematic old-school DnB vibes it gives off. Feel has a catchy vocal chop that I am obsessed with. Sea of Mist has an excellent melodic line that sticks in your ears for a bit. Talum is a very dark track with a terrific atmosphere.
Every one of these tracks does so many things right. Makes me want to write albums for my pets now too. Is this EP specifically for Mr. Gizzer or do you think all animal lovers who have lost their furry loved ones could take something from this EP?
I would like to think this EP could be for anyone who has lost someone close to them. They are not gone, just on a new journey and someday you’ll get to join them and see how they're doing.
What is your favorite or most passionate track?
My most passionate track is either Sea of Mist or Talum. Both have melodies that really pull at my heartstrings.
Lastly, is there anything you'd like to say to Mr. Gizzer and your listeners?
I love you all and you have been through the wringer with me. I am eternally grateful and I hope I continue to go above and beyond your expectations.
So remember, cherish each and every moment you’re given with your loved ones, be it family, friends, or pets because one day they’ll be gone from this world. Even once they’re gone, their hearts will continue beating in your dreams, and like Solenya said, “one day you’ll get to join them and see how they’re doing”.
A Solenya Summer is here! Catch more releases this summer by Solenya including the official Morning Ritual Remix EP and more!