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Mark Solotroff, "Today the Infinite, Tomorrow Zero"

Today the Infinite, Tomorrow ZeroAn artist who always has something in progress or forthcoming, Mark Solotroff's has been most prolific under his own name as of late. Different from the frenetic, yet organized chaos of BLOODYMINDED, the doomy bombast of Anatomy of Habit, or the murky improvisations of The Fortieth Day (and those are only a few examples), his solo material in recent years has been more introspective and meditative, at times drifting into almost ambient territories. Following 2020's You May Be Holding Back and 2021's Not Everybody Make It, Today the Infinite, Tomorrow Zero continues his focus on using analog synths alone with a four track, but creating a depth and variance of sound that belies its rather Spartan origins. Compared to these recent albums though (and the Return to Oneself compilation of digital singles), the depth is even greater and further realized, and the sound has expanded to one that is almost musical, without ignoring any of the intensity expected from Solotroff.


From a structural standpoint, Today the Infinite features shorter pieces than the previous two, with You May Be Holding being a pair of 30-minute pieces, and Not Everybody Makes It's six, ten-minute segments. He once again imposes that rigid hour-long duration on the album, but in smaller, six-minute increments this time. Because of this, the sound and style differ more notably from song to song than it did on those previous albums, emphasizing both noise and melody throughout.

Additionally, the fade in/fade out dynamic he utilizes on each piece gives a vignette like quality, a passing state or emotion that comes and goes, but fully realized and self-contained. Opener "The Weight of Your Own" is a perfect example of the balance on this album: fading in via gauzy layers of synth, underscored by an engine like hum, he balances the noise and the musicality, with carefully controlled feedback giving a bit of spikiness to an otherwise understated work. This combination is also a defining facet of "You May Slip Between," with a lush melody buried under fuzzy synths, occasionally rising up to take focus, to only retreat again into the fuzz.

Melody is something that is even more apparent on this album than his previous synth works, such as the delicate shimmer of "Almost All Promises" that overall makes for a surprisingly gentle, flowing piece. Solotroff retains the melody but generates a bit more overall force via more low-end elements on "Desire Without Wounds," with the full spectrum of sound well represented. There is also a prominent rumble throughout "Keeping Themselves to Themselves," which transitions to lighter frequencies towards its conclusion, but the heaviness remains.

Of course, it would not be a Solotroff work without some noise and abrasiveness, although even that is kept in check to make for an album with notable consistency. The cavernous rumble of "The Study of One" eventually shifts into a metallic, clanging echo chamber of scraping metal, and "Restoring Contact with Experience" stays distorted and noisy even with some almost psychedelia snuck in. Much like the opening piece, "The Hold on Life" brings both extremes together, with churning, mechanical pulsations paired with melodious drifts, making for an overall pleasant conclusion to the album, albeit with some distinct dark moments as well.

Ultimately, there is a bleak beauty to this album, a sonic pairing of the hopeful and the hopeless, a sense clearly conveyed from the album's title. This is a sensibility that has been imbued in his recent work, both solo and in group settings. For BLOODYMINDED and Anatomy of Habit, Solotroff clearly conveys this via his vocals and lyrics, but here, with only synths and magnetic tape, he manages to deliver a similarly wide array of experiences and emotions that perfectly encapsulates the complexities of life.

Listen here.