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Sounds of New Soma — Musique Bizarre
(Tonzonen TON132, 2022, CD / LP / DL)

Sounds of New Soma — Trip
(Tonzonen TON104, 2021, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-05-08

Musique Bizarre Cover artTrip Cover art

Sounds of New Soma has been releasing psychedelic music since 2014, but Trip (2021) was my first exposure to them. The album features a single 42-minute track (divided into two side-long tracks for the LP version), which is built up of guitars and synthesizers and lots of electronic processing. The music is generally sparse and meditative rather than dense and energetic. Plaintive guitar notes echo in space, silky tones drone in the distance, occasional blips and bleeps bounce around, and sometimes a rhythmic pulse appears on a bubbly synth. After several minutes, a saxophone appears, bringing in a different mood. There’s a touch of 70s Berlin School, though definitely on the more freeform, less sequenced side of the style. It’s all very enjoyable and maintains interest through constant subtle shifts as the piece progresses. Musique Bizarre (2022), however, is a very different proposition. The core duo of Alexander Djelassi and Dirk Raupach are joined by a variety of guests on 12 tracks, only one of which tops ten minutes. The guests come from other bands on the Tonzonen label: Verspero, Nazca Space Fox, Moop, Taumel, Grombira, and The Spacelords. Sounds of New Soma’s atmospheres are augmented by bass, drums, and guitars, along with a variety of other instruments at times, and the result combines the best of SONS’s textures and the other groups’ space rock drive - though the exact formula varies from track to track with the personnel. “Berlin Marrakesch” has a subdued North African vibe; “Das Salodenprinzip,” “Balkenspirale,” and “Hamsterrad” are more driving space rock; “Waidmann” is abstract electronics with trumpet; and “Gökotta” is noisy drones and fragmented instrumentation. Opinions may differ here, but I think it all holds together in spite of the variety, and makes for a fine collection of tracks with different takes on trippy music. For a glimpse into the current (mostly) German psychedelic scene, you could do a lot worse than Musique Bizarre.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Sounds of New Soma

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