Solar X is the performing name of Roman Belavkin, a Russian music artist and computer scientist. Solar X was one of the pioneers of modern music and in post-Perestroika Russia. His music has been compared to Varese, Stockhausen, Tom Jenkinson and Richard James and was praised by the Guggenheim museum, the John Peel show while Roman performed his live sets at nuclear reactor raves in Crimea during solar eclipse.

Roman has been described by The Face magazine as “a stereotypical russian genius” for apart from being Russia’s own “Aphex without a tank” (De-Bug), he has also achieved gold medals in martial arts and PhD in Artificial Intelligence. Born in Moscow, he started experimenting with Soviet synthesisers during his school years in the mid 80-es. His unprecedented debut 12” on American Defective Records in 1995 became “release of the week” in the Front Page magazine. His second album, Xrated, employed everything from “speedy robodisco to funkified gabba, all wrapped in gorgeous melodies”. It was re-released in late 1996, and it made The Wire to “pronounce the former Soviet Union a goldmine of undiscovered talent”.

In 1998, Roman signed to London’s Worm Interface records, and his third album Little Pretty Automatic was named by many as one of the best albums in music ever written: “what gives this album its distinctive quality is neither the sounds, the rhythms or the arrangements…it is the way all the elements are fused into the whole with an almost classical sense of form, and the precision, and balance that results… an astonishing piece of work.”

Solar X’s more recent “Chanel No. 303” EP was released on Hymen records in Germany. This “six-tracker of hyperspeed breakbeat science” was described as “an astonishing piece of bristling beats and analogue acids; enriched with graceful melodies and paroxysmal punk-electronica breakbeats.”

Roman was the founder of the Art-Tek records and he is often named as the most influential person in modern Russian electronic music. He now lives in London conducting his research in cognitive science and composing music. His live performances are 100 per cent improvisations thanks to a custom-built setup on a laptop computer.

Edited by ribonucleotide on 17 May 2006, 12:21

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