James K Ultra’s interests in audio experimentation and deep thought alike reach unique new levels with this single New Solution. Emerging as something of an alternative, electronic rock track with an edge of EDM, New Solution brings an intense level of energy into the room with its cascading synths, samples and beats. At the same time, there’s a certain smoothness or even softness to the vocals – the melodic vocal initially adds a comforting layer of consideration, prompting the listener to think on particular ideas as the ambiance envelops them.
Where on the one hand this sort of sound is perfectly designed to get you geared up for the weekend or whatever it is that you need to face head on, it also offers a compelling and sci-fi like bit of escapism for the music fans who turn to audio and personal isolation when the outside world gets a little too overwhelming. It’s not all that common that a piece of music can play both of these roles, but in this case it undoubtedly does.
It’s easy to have the track pour through as you go about your day or your writing, even though there’s so much detail and weight to the soundscape. This suggests that there’s a fine balance between creativity and professionalism at work. The layers don’t build up gradually, they burst onto the scene all at once – chaotic and relentless. However, the indie-rock calmness of the vocal melody contrasts cleverly with this, so you find yourself naturally still and settled at the centre of the experience.
In addition to all of this, the song has some retro qualities that offer a hint of nostalgia, and in the end – it’s notably easy to recognise the track and the sound in general once you’ve heard it even just once. Not too many artists are creating in this way right now. Worth a listen.
New Solution was written and performed by James K Ultra and mixed and mastered by Jon Wagner. James K Ultra also fronts the band Pain in the Yeahs – check out their EP Dopamine Noir via Bandcamp.