From its very beginning, 2017 stumbles towards the awesomeness. The clusters of audiophile delights that will most certainly leave a trace in electronic music universe. Zooming in, we find the releases from Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, Brian Eno and Sohn: all bound to have an enormous impact on the years to follow.
A true music junkie can not emphasise enough on the significance of these records. But first, please welcome the setters and breakers of indie-to-mainstream trends (and don’t get too comfortable, they will reinvent themselves once again!)
Let us explore the nearest star in the cluster. Sohn in German means “son”, though in Russian changes into a “dream” (сон), which couldn’t possibly describe any better the delicate sound creations of the London born artist. His latest musical effort is indeed dreamy, introvert, intimate, silky and multi-dimensional.
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Rennen in turn is “running”, and what comes to an imaginative mind is a search for home. There are London, Vienna and now Los Angeles residences; a longing for an adventure, and, allow one to speculate – terra incognita. A journey to find a place where dreams are as exquisite as the melodies evoked from the Sohn musical universe.
The artist’s latest single “Conrad”, further explores album’s theme (or, in this case feeds imagination) of running away to a safer place or anything in that direction:
“I can feel it coming over the hillside
It’s a valley fire and it’s coming to burn us down.
Like a rushing comet bound for the planet
And we’re dinosaurs living in denial…”
He sounds optimistic yet worried, while the keys and weeping synths build up a melodic blockbuster that could’ve easily made any R&B influencer anxious and slightly jealous (that might or might not be Justin Timberlake).
Not particularly keen of comparisons, but, can’t ignore the vivid associations with some outstanding existing material; to mind comes Jamie Woon, James Blake and Banks (some are distinctively known collaborators), while the video for the first taste of “Rennen” – “Signal” starring Milla Jovovich, reminds the raw emotional expression of Naomi Campbell in “Drone Bomb Me” by the ethereal Anohni.
Now, “Signal” itself is a sensible atmospheric ballad, – while showcasing a slight departure from previous work, the track will sweep you of your feet with the outstanding electronic transitions. When, almost comfortable with the soothing melody, there comes the formidable, signature passage and, later, the realization of being unexpectedly dragged into artist’s sonic moodiness. This skilled manoeuvre only, makes the song such a treat (and, marks a brilliant piece of production).
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“Hard Liquor” is another stunner that does justice to be album opener. Visceral, epic and sultry, this absolute banger invades you; suggests joining a strange dance, or, just watching another human doing the strange dancing. It slowly, but surely, puts you in a state of euphoria, and by the end of the track, you know you have already surrendered to the album.
Techno-esque, minimalist and beafy “Falling” allows anyone who has or hasn’t a music ear to ‘join in’, almost creating interactivity between artist and listener. But wait, there is more: the last 60 seconds shift into fierce harmony, and this time all the hype is about electronica.
The sounds one must savor are the transcendental “Still Waters” and “Harbour”. The first one gets a bow for the atmospheric sax, enveloping reverbs and subtle vocals; the second one – for the blues esthetics, simplicity and memorable, eloquent theme change.
It is a crime to neglect musicians that bring the unexpected in today’s music, and not to applaud the ones who’s electronic aesthetics depart from what is already a cliché of the genre. It might be a “UK thing” really: that constant need to challenge its own music scene, and always end up setting an example to the rest of the world. (Hooray to that!)
When linking the debut LP “Tremors” to latest “Rennen” personal evolution becomes a statement. And yet again, the realism and accessibility of electronic music (Jamie Woon’s “Mirrorwriting” to “Making Time” transition is an adequate example), – the tendency to strip down the sound palette, trading the altar of awesomeness for a temple of outstanding songwriting and vocals.