Mark Solotroff's artwork and music focuses on several related key themes, including how cities develop, both organically and through organized planning, how the human body navigates urban environments, and how people navigate and interact with each other, particularly in an age of alienation caused by severe digital fragmentation. The significance of these themes was enormously intensified when the global pandemic emerged in early 2020. For Solotroff, a key way to cope with the myriad challenges of the past year was to focus on creativity and to dive deep into a daily practice of working on diverse aspects of music production related to his bands and his solo work, including writing, recording, mixing, mastering, album and T-shirt design, etc.
In the music world, Solotroff is best known as the vocalist of both the doom band Anatomy of Habit and the heavy electronic band BLOODYMINDED, and as the founder of the early post-industrial band Intrinsic Action. He also has a more than 35 year history playing analog synthesizer. His synth work has been at the core of his bands BLOODYMINDED and Intrinsic Action, and he recorded and released 100 hours of lo-fi analog synth music under the name Super Eight Loop, which he recently digitized and remastered. He is part of the dark-synth group Nightmares, which released a new album in early 2020, as well as the post-industrial trio, Ensemble Sacrés Garçons, which released their first new album in over 25 years, in early 2021.
Solotroff has also collaborated with and contributed synth and/or vocals to numerous bands, ranging from a four year role in Wrekmeister Harmonies, to live appearances and/or studio recordings with diverse electronic, experimental, and metal bands, including The Atlas Moth, Brutal Truth, Consumer Electronics, Indian, Locrian, Plague Bringer, Sigillum S, and The Sodality. In late 2019, Solotroff's synth was included on new releases by Azar Swan ("The Hissing Crane" on Primal Architecture) and The Body ("Remixed" on Thrill Jockey), and in 2020, he created remixes, augmented with his synth, for Statiqbloom (“Asphyxia Remixed” on Synthicide) and Snow Burial (“Painting The Streets With Our Blood”).
As a solo artist, Solotroff focuses on recording and performing tenebrous analog synth music. His bass-heavy soundscapes have been said to unsettle some listeners and calm others. He views these recordings and performances as possible soundtracks for movement through metropolitan terrains, whether by foot, car, or public transportation. Starting in 2017, Solotroff released a series of recordings as limited edition cassettes, which were also made available through the major digital platforms. An evolution from his overloaded wall-of-synth-noise Super Eight Loop recordings, which he began while living in New York and which were intended as soundtracks for walking through a pre-sterilization Times Square, his new recordings are far more nuanced and dynamic. Notably, they are meant to be listened to at a more moderate volume – allowing city sounds to blend into the music – and so as not to drown out voices, traffic, construction and other day-to-day urban sounds that one might encounter. In 2021, he collected these small edition cassettes onto three 2CD sets, under the title "Strategic Planning." Creaig Dunton at Brainwashed characterized work from this period by saying that Solotroff “does an exceptional job at capturing bleakness, casting out cold sheets of sound like frigid rain falling in a vast, deserted space.” During the early stages of the pandemic, Solotroff recorded and released a solo album, "You May Be Holding Back," which consists of two long-form synth pieces, accompanied by unidentified found sounds. Chris Groves at Night Science called the work “redolent of isolation.”
“Not Everybody Makes It,” Solotroff’s new album, is his most restrained and controlled synth recording, to date. While he anticipated creating a hybrid of more primitive and aggressive sounds balanced by more subtle ambient textures, by the time he finished mixing the six new songs, each one exactly ten-minutes in length, he realized that he had made significant strides in evolving his recent style. “Not Everybody Makes It” functions as a sonic elegy to the countless losses that so many of us have suffered, over the last year and in the recent past, and its shimmering and crumbling frequencies and textures enter into a tense balancing act with elusive melodies that slowly drown in and then emerge from the shifting and eroding dronescapes. “Not Everybody Makes It” was released on July 30, 2021, on CD, in a four-panel digipak featuring Solotroff’s photography, and on all major digital platforms.