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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Copernicus - Disappearance – If Van Halen’s David Lee Roth decided to drop it all and become an obtuse beat poet, that may create a small avenue of interest into the ramblings of Copernicus. There is no doubt that plenty of...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues