9 Dec 2016

Somnam: "Melancholy's Masquerade"

Appealingly demented ventures into electronics and ambience
Somnam began some time back in 2005 in Finland, but the one-man project has miraculously endured the passing of time with bravour, having released a full length album as recently as 2015.

In a way this will be more of a recommendation rather than a standard review. Normally I would begin by describing the project and its origins, then segueing into an examination of the good and bad aspects of the compositions found on the release, before lastly explaining my final verdict. Here we will start with the verdict, as I have already been listening to Melancholy's Masquerade for a few years. It is incredibly well-written and unique.

"a flush of vague electric organs, lethargic beats and dreaming radar blips."

On the debut album from 2007, Somnam uses an impressive array of sounds and fluctutations. Though they sound like standardised plugins from a DAW like FL Studio or similar, the project's sole member Antti Vaheri forces them into his own style in a flush of vague electric organs, lethargic beats and dreaming radar blips.

Melancholy's Masquerade is an album that over the years of sporadic listening manages to lodge itself between the folds of the brain, where various experiences once in a while trigger its reemergence into your conciousness like a childhood trauma. Its nightmarish synthscapes are far removed from music in its traditional sense, but touches more on varying emotional levels than most musicians achieve.

Paranoia and relief goes hand in hand, loathsome fear seeping in through the cracks where one was experiencing a moment of restful reprieve mere moments before. Somnam combines succesfully combines absent-minded trip-hop and industrialised dark ambience with ritualistic musings and sepulchral reveries over and over again in nine compositions.

Through each circle of hell, heavy synths form oppressive moods, each sub-sound making you appreciate the value of a solid bass unit even more. The Finnish project is as eclectic as it is evocative, and even when the music is at its least layered points it manages to provoke a strong response. Making use of the tools he has available, Vaheri has crafted a horrific golem capable of toppling mountains.


Released in 2007 by Paradigms Recordings


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