Somnia - Review
Before the release of this album, I admit I was completely unaware of this group and so was completely surprised and captivated with this work.
Being previously a mostly instrumental project, this new album ventures into the ethereal realm and becomes a perfect fit and new favorite in the genre here on Gothic Paradise. The album encompasses eleven stunning pieces featuring beautiful vocals from local area vocalists. What we have here is a new masterpiece for ethereal electronica fans.
The dynamic nature of this album is captivating from the first ambient electronic notes to the final, fading reverberating piano. Over the course of this work we're presented with seven different vocalists that manage to emanate the raw emotional feelings of dreams, hope and love portrayed by the music on this album. The listener enters the dreamy soundscapes of this album, trekking through "Fire", on "The Walk" "At Sea" and venturing into "A Room Full of Stars" and finally ending up at the "Ivory Towers". The ethereal nature of the music is strong with the various vocal styles, from sweet and quaint, to dynamic and operatic. These vocalists are backed by equally dynamic and powerful waves of music created from layer upon layer of ethereal electronics and ambient dreamscapes. When listened to on dark and gloomy day, the emotions penetrate and lift the listener high through the oppressiveness to new light, when captured on the happiest of days, it becomes an accent, an exclamation to a life well lived with passion and hope.
There are a number of favorite pieces on this album that either immediately stood out at first listen or that have grown on me over time. I think for readers and listeners here, the most obvious ones would be those that are grounded with ethereal styles, a bit of light trip-hop or ambient soundscapes. For me they're pretty much all masterpieces, but I'll touch on just a few favorites that I think are worth focusing on. As the album starts out with "Fire", this is a great introduction to what is available, the dreamy ambient soundscapes are accented with beautiful piano and of course the sweet vocals, all moving along with subtle percussion. The tempo, moods and intensity varies from piece to piece, sometimes focusing on the ethereal and ambient soundscapes, while at others the more upbeat rhythms take hold. As we approach the halfway mark, "Then" nearly knocked me off my feet with it's spellbinding elegance with the spacial echoes and ambient charm and artistry reflected through the mesmerizing vocals and layered, soft, subtle electronics and equally airy trip-hop percussion. Drifting on through "A Room Full of Stars" is a quick trip through another very subdued, yet upbeat ambient piece on the way to the darker, dreamier "Sand" and "Ghost". This latter piece was the first track I listened to from this group and I was immediately captivated and hooked. I knew I had to have this album if any of the other tracks were even remotely similar, needless to say I wasn't disappointed. This piece capitalizes on pure, beautiful vocals with the various ethereal themed electronics forming a soft, gossamer backdrop for it all.
As the album starts to wind down, we're treated with Derek's somber vocals on "At The Ending" as the only male vocalist on this album for a nice bit of variety, and showing that ethereal beauty isn't always just pretty female vocals layered over dreamy electronics. With a slightly buoyant mood on "Broken Down" and a soft final touch on "Ivory Towers", the album slowly, dreamily comes to an end. Overall it's a masterpiece, an excellent mix of beautiful, electronica mixed with haunting ethereal that fans of similar artists here on Gothic Paradise will enjoy, such as Sleepthief
and Falling You
. Pick this album up, it's a great addition to any ethereal music fan's collection, it's well worth it and highly recommended.