With their debut LP Corolla for ANTIME, the Berlin-based trio Soft Grid captures the explosive energy of its celebrated live shows. Soft Grid was started in 2014 in an abandoned hospital ward by Jana Sotzko (of Dropout Patrol) and Theresa Stroetges (alias Golden Diskó Ship), who had previously been working together in the improvisation project Epiphany Now. After their spontaneously composed and recorded tape release Stingrays was issued through Berlin’s Twaague Records in the summer of 2015, the British drummer and producer Sam Slater was recruited more or less directly from a Berlin dance oor to join the band for live shows. He became a full member in no time. Since then, the three-piece has shared stages around Germany alongside such diverse acts as Des Ark, Milemarker, Messer, or even Tolouse Low Trax.
Corolla is as much of an improvisational effort as their live shows: not really. Just like their gigs – which have all members wandering around to take over duties on synthesizers, bass, guitar, viola, and microphones – Corolla is a carefully mapped out, compositional whole, recorded live over two days in Salon Berlin by Sylvain Livache. It showcases the trio’s taste for ventures into the realms of extreme acoustic sounds and electronic textures as well as their knack for catchy hooks and driving rhythms. Even amidst the heaviest synth breakdowns, there’s something joyful to cling to. Soft Grid make music that is continuously twisting and shifting, which immerses itself in the steady flow of sonic events without losing focus. Anything goes on Corolla, and when it does, the three head in exactly the same direction.
From the massive opening chords of »Herzog On A Bus« to the subtle Chicago-style Post-Rock influences on »Hospital Floor« and the erratic finale which is the title track, Soft Grid create a musical narrative throughout their debut LP which reflects its lyrical themes. While the lyrics of Corolla, themselves a collaborative effort, sample everything from a Werner Herzog documentary to the eerie atmosphere of that hospital ward where the band was born, there is at least one leitmotiv which ties them together: Soft Grid are first and foremost concerned with moving forward. And they will.