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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - A Bead to a Small Mouth – Each track on this compilation integrates spoken text and sound manipulation, with results both mysterious and captivating. On "A New Dress" Nurse with Wound layers shifting, hypnotic metallic tones...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues