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"I started playing music when I was at school really" recalls Rob Solomon, the man they call Lexis. "But it got a bit more serious afterwards when I joined a band called Choice, gigging in local clubs and backing bigger groups around East Anglia. Our sound was quite jazz funk, mixing it up between instrumental tracks and vocal tracks with a girl who sang in a jazz style."
When his band dissolved in the early nineties, Rob swapped traditional instrumentation for new technology, getting a studio together with his brother and exploring the dance sounds that were emerging. After checking out 40,000 people events like Vision, Rob took things a step further by opening up a record shop (Essential Selections) and label (Rude Boy Records).

While at college, he enlisted the help of a graphic designer who was also interested in production. That person was Rupert Parkes - better known in d & b circles as the formidable Photek. The pair bonded and began to knock together back to back twelves for the nascent imprint, like The Five Tracker, a five track EP that came off on a twisted jazz tip.

After a while, both profiles grew and the pair eventually went their separate ways, Rob going on to produce tracks for respected imprints like Creative Source, Certificate 18, Moving Shadow and Good Looking. With labels like this behind him, it was obvious Lexis had something to offer. Rather than continue to record for a variety of imprints however, Rob felt that he was spreading himself a little thinly and - closing down his Rude Boy operation - focused on Paul Arnold's Certificate 18.

Over the last five years or so this has led to a selection of phenomenal cuts like the atmospheric 'Criminal Elements' with it's recurring strings and deep grooves, the shuffling beats and introspective take of 'Endurance' and the powerful bubbling bass and futuristic funk of 'Diva'.

In order to consolidate his identity further, Rob has released 'Branch Of Knowledge' through Certificate 18, an album that collects together the classic Lexis rollers mentioned above as well as the stunning Photek mix of his Good Looking release 'Groove Therapy' and floor-wreckers like 'Frantic', 'Illusion', 'Hypnotise', 'Intermitant' and 'Visions'.

By bringing most of his works to date under one roof, 'Branch Of Knowledge' shows Lexis to be a highly idiosynchratic and varied producer, turning in a variety of clean, neck snapping beats, jazz-funk basslines, insouciant atmospherics, soulful melodies and hard hitting funk.

"I thought I'd bring a few tracks together because I was going to London and had bits and pieces dotted everywhere" explains Rob. "People would say to me 'Oh, you did that tune as well!' kind of thing and I reasoned that if I bring it all together, it might work a bit better for me and people would know my name a bit more."

Having given headz a reality check with 'Branch Of Knowledge', Rob is already eager to begin a new venture, namely re-exploring his live soul and jazz-funk roots and incorporating them into a drum & bass format (as well as rocking some down tempo flavours of course). "The thing I'm working on now is getting two or three singers in the studio with myself and my brother and trying to get a live set together" he reveals. "It'll take a while to sort out, but I intend to try and work it out over the next few months or so. We're not sure if it's going to work so we'll have to experiment and see what happens but it's worth a try."

As well, we may even get to hear his famed DJ sets a bit more as he plans to get down to the smoke more often: "I'm now coming back to the DJ'ing and getting sets together" he states. "We used to do it years ago but I never really got onto the London circuit as I've been in the studio all the time. I'm gonna step that up now though, I'll do my sort of thing, a mixture starting off mid-tempo and then the album style and maybe some vocal stuff."
Watch this space…

Biog. by Paul SULLIVAN

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