Thursday 2 October 2014

Review: Somnium – 'Marinconia'


Italian ambient-drone band Ky and Calliope, AKA Somnium, blend organic and analogue sounds into post-industrial soundscapes. There are no digital shortcuts, just pure instrumentation that ebbs and flows through the dreamlike tracks blending, drone, ambient, shoegaze, psychedelia, and industrial into something wonderfully engaging. At its best, 'Marinconia' references the likes of Troum, Coil, Einstürzende Neubauten, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Steve Roach with ease.

The entire album has a marine-like atmosphere. The ever present hanging drones and jangling percussion create the feeling of being immersed in the sea, while the ever evolving blends of guitars and noise pull the listener further and further through the depths. The album is hypnotic and each track compliments the flow of the whole. However they are strong enough individually to stand alone from the rest of the songs. In particular the most evocative tracks such as 'SILLA', 'Librarsi', and 'Ponente', which really grab the listener.

This is a well produced and well mixed album that owes more to the style of mixing reserved for film soundtracks than post-industrial albums. Which is great as each song has that essential cinematic vibe and undeniable presence that brings out the best in ambient music.

This is quite a slow album that requires your full, undivided attention in order to get the best listening experience. It's emotional and meditative and far too complex to be cast aside as background music. Somnium cast their net as wide as possible with 'Marinconia' and reap the rewards. It isn't gunning for a big audience, but if you are a fan of ambient music, then this album is definitely worth a listen. 

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