Back in August 2005 a record that was a feast for audiophiles was released, namely Pixel Revolt. You may have heard of it if you spend any time here at Sixeyes. It was a favourite, as are many of John Vanderslice's albums, and can still inspire me when it queues up on my mp3 player. But if you didn't pay much attention to the blogging or mainstream press about the record you may have missed the fact that this recording was borne out of collaboration. Yeah, I know, nearly all records are collaborative, but this relationship has roots, respect, and trust. Scott Solter, one of the unseen, but most definitely not unheard, gems of indie music, has been the main sound engineer at Vanderslice's renowned San Francisco analog studio, Tiny Telephone, for years.
Now Mr Solter (his myspace page) has with his bare hands and acute ears remixed Pixel Revolt analog-style. That's with razor blades and tape, kiddies. Something that he also did with Vanderslice's Cellar Door album. AND he has worked as producer, recorder or mixer on, get this, the Mountain Goats albums Get Lonely, The Sunset Tree, and We Shall All Be Healed... PLUS... Spoon's Gimme Fiction. A partial list of other artists includes Okkervil River, The Court and Spark, Ester Drang, Division Day, Erik Friedlander, and many more.
Go to John Vanderslice's homepage to download the remix of Pixel Revolt in it's entirety. And while you're there you'll find the remixed Cellar Door here, two mp3s from the original Cellar Door here, and to top it all off, Vanderslice's solo debut Mass Suicide Occult Figurines, the whole enchilada, in three bit-rates can be had here!
Solter's last solo work was titled One River  and earned a solid 7.1 from Pitchfork, here's a taste: antique brothers [mp3]
BUY Solter's One River
Go here to download some mp3s from recordings Scott Solter has worked on.
Here are a couple of questions and answers that passed between Scott Solter and myself back around the time Pixel Revolt was released.
SIXEYES: Tell me how you came to be involved so heavily behind the board as opposed to behind the mic as a performer? You are obviously a very creative and talented musician.
Scott Solter: I would say that I’m more of a musical person rather than a musician. I’ve never really given a great deal of effort or time to playing instruments and I respect people who do. Having dabbled on and off for years with a myriad of instruments I just came to the conclusion that it’s the overall color and texture of records that I pay attention to. So about 6 years ago I decided I wanted to learn how to make records. From there I realized that my ‘jack-of-all-trade’ dabbling gave me the ability to speak the language of various instruments and thus better communicate with musicians about they are trying to achieve...both what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
When it comes to working on a John Vanderslice record, is it a much different experience than working with other artists? From what John says you would appear to have a large say in how or what gets put down on tape--is this how it works in your recording relationship?
SS: Working on this and the last of John’s records has been very much a collaborative process. I think John allows me so much latitude because we come from different musical tastes (with the exception of classical) and the result is that I’m going to come up with ideas that he wouldn’t have thought of (and visa versa). For instance, he may reference something from pop music whereas I might reference something from film soundtracks but we are both very curious people and never say NO to any idea until it is executed. With this relationship we fall into our natural roles during the recording and the differences often are what pulls the effort together and makes it distinctive. I’ve enjoyed this kind of working relationship with other artists when they seek it out. I’ve experienced everything from total enthusiasm to confusion to resistance in the process; it just depends on the artist.
JOHN VANDERSLICE SPRING US TOUR DATES w/ St Vincent
04-06 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
04-07 Seattle, WA - Triple Door
04-09 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
04-10 Denver, CO - Hi-Dive
04-12 Ames, IA - The M Shop
04-13 Chicago, IL - Lake Shore Theater
04-14 Grand Rapids, MI - Ladies Literary Club
04-15 Athens, OH - Ohio University Union
04-17 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
04-18 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's
04-19 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
04-20 Cambridge, MA - Middle East Upstairs
04-21 Hamden, CT - The Space
04-24 Baltimore, MD - Sonar
04-25 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
04-26 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
04-28 Charleston, SC - The Map Room
04-29 Columbia, SC - The (Art) Garage
04-30 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
05-01 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
05-02 St. Louis, MO - St. Louis University Biliken Club
05-03 Springfield, MO - Randy Bacon Gallery
05-05 Denton, TX - Dan's Silverleaf
05-06 Austin, TX - Emo's
05-08 Phoenix, AZ - Modified
05-09 San Diego, CA - Casbah
05-10 Los Angeles, CA - Largo