Exposé Online banner

Somnambulist — Somnambulist
(Laser's Edge LE 1027, 1996, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01

Somnambulist Cover art

Fans of Mellotron and heavy Hammond take note. Somnambulist is a four-piece from Chattanooga, Tennessee, who are solidly powered by these two instruments, as well as synths, guitars, and a heavy rhythm section. One might be tempted to compare them to Anekdoten or Änglagård, but the overall approach is far more modern (especially in the vocal department), and lower on the melancholy meter. A fair comparison would be to place them somewhere between 70s and 80s Crimson. Like the latter, they have no trouble finding a groove with heavy bass offset by an asymmetrical drum attack in odd meter, even some catchy guitar Frippisms abound, often descending into grotesque eruptions of dissonance — yet when Somnambulist find that groove it tends to be a lot more animated and unpredictable, keeping their songs interesting for the duration. The vocals tend to have that modern attitude, sometimes distorted and barely understandable, with spoken fragments, noises, squeaks, and other similar punctuations, but overall — especially with all the analog keys — it's the vocals that keep the band from sounding too retro. "Return of the Son of Civilization" is a track that encompasses all of Somnambulist's most fertile tendencies, and pretty much sums up what the band is about. Tracks like "Pinocchio," the almost-schizophrenic "Multum in Parvo," "Conqueror Worm," the Hammond-heavy "Torquemada," and the fourteen-minute, four-part closer "Unlearning Folds of Bed" are all solid examples of their energetic and creative blitz. A very promising debut indeed, worthy of attention.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Somnambulist

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Herbe Rouge - Herbe Rouge – This progressive group is of the sort that could only come from France in the 70s where a distinctive and idiosyncratic form of weirdness flourished. Like many of their progressive compatriots, Herbe...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues