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Review: 'Stolze, Alex'
'Mankind Animal'   

-  Album: 'Mankind Animal' -  Label: 'Nonostar Records'
-  Genre: 'Trip-Hop' -  Release Date: 'March 2017'

Our Rating:
Alex Stolze may be a violinist, but ‘Mankind Animal’ is not an album which immediately corresponds with any preconceptions of violin-led compositions. Neither neoclassical, string-soaked chamber pop nor fiddle-filled folk, ‘Mankind Animal’ is a collection of sparsely-arranged electronic-based songs. The trip-hoppy ‘Don’t Try to Be’ opens the album in magnificently understated style: the vocals and mournful violin combine to haunting effect, rich in fragile emotion. ‘Don’t try to be someone else / otherwise, who would be like you?’ he asks, quietly, pining, wistful, as the instrumental backing weaves a gauzy atmospheric detachment.

After the tense instrumental interlude of ‘Eraser’, ‘The Crown’ is almost so hushed and reflective as to be barely audible in places. But this contrast in volume is integral to the flow of the set: Stolze’s greatest strength is his ability to explore – and successfully – different sonic terrains, and on ‘The Crown’, this is achieved in no small part by Stolze’s versatile playing style, which moves between picked notes, scraps and atonality, gliding notes and tremulous tweaks. It also boasts a magnificent, strolling double bass line.

The shuffling beats which clack beneath a stealthy bass and teetering violin on the precarious ‘Stringent’ echo the album’s first track, but this time around the sounds are pulled together to create something bittersweet, touching on almost neoclassical in its construction. At the same time, it possesses both an ominousness and a certain degree of bounce.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Stolze, Alex - Mankind Animal