SOHN, the moniker of London musician Christopher Taylor, has been bubbling around the electronic scene for a while now, releasing an EP and a handful of singles over the past couple of years, including the incredible “Bloodflows”. This was the track that introduced me to his sonic world of raw emotion and sublime crystalline production. This was also the track that made me fall head over heels for his music.
Having traded the bustling streets of London for the romanticism of Vienna to record his debut album “Tremors”, SOHN has created a relentless, emotionally charged work that serves as a perfect introduction to the future of his music. I’m going to try and avoid a track by track breakdown, instead viewing this album as a whole and how it makes me feel; you really just have to drop everything and listen to it in its entirety. The album is a fully fledged pedestal for the vocal and production capabilities of Taylor and opener Tempest is a testament to this. Filled with contorted vocal samples which chirp above a synthetic backdrop as Taylor’s voice croons and reaches soaring heights, this track foreshadows the angst ridden journey you are about to take.
The album takes hold of you for here on in, ebbing and flowing through its highs and lows with moments of sheer agony and moments of hope. Across all 11 icy tracks, Taylor’s voice is draped over pulsating rhythms and cascading synths, channelling some sort of otherworldly ambience that’s hard to escape. From the driving force that is “Artifice” to the slow burning crescendo of “Lessons”, the album rarely let’s up. The only fault I can find is at times the album loses its flow, particularly in its second half, feeling like just a collection of tracks. But what a bloomin’ good collection of tracks it is.
The resurgence of electronic soul was always bound to trigger many James Blake impersonators, and although SOHN has yet to completely shake the comparison, he has certainly given the genre his own stamp, with Tremors being his calling card and platform to rise in both originality and success. Yes it’s completely grandiose and overblown and yes it’s pretty damn depressing. But we all have those moments when we want to drown in our own sorrows eating gallons of ice cream… No? Just me? Anyway, “Tremors” leaves you trapped within its all encapsulating texture of emotion, immersing you for its entirety and stays with you long after the needle has lifted.
Stephen Archibald |