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

2019-12-11
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Maryam Mursal - The Journey – Maryam Mursal is a singer from Somalia now exiled and living in Denmark. Somali music, like the country itself, is a unique mixture of African and Arabic. On this release, Mursal approaches her...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues