Aarde by Somta

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Out of Leeds comes Somta, and their sophomore effort, Aarde. The album is available to stream or download via Bandcamp, and I suggest you do. A spacious, non-contrived dark ambient collection of fifteen tracks, each ranging from 42 seconds to 7:03, that have a real street feel that eventually lifts off into the abyss. The atmosphere is like a cavernous futuristic subway at times (Sophia) recalling some of the fleeting memories of the once much beloved Instinct Records. The synths whine and dive in plunging cascades of harmony, mysterious and bold – but not without a finger on the pulse of more commercial electronic projects heard on a multitude of soundtracks these days. Somta offers a nice balance of sampling and controlled forward-thinking rhythms (Noos) that escape the sameness of many other similar efforts. Experience the steam hiss and steely scraping percussion without just pure noise, Aarde manages to merge industrial and ambient as a diverse set of voices, independent and fused in perfect disharmony – still quite listenable.

Trogo takes you into its floating and airy space with long, lean and cerebral electronics that flare and vanish. Definitely a standout track here, it’s central bass reverberates like a heavenly washing machine, it feels as if it’s a not-so-literal head cleaner. At times it feels like I am listening to a seasoned artist who has been through decades of composing rather than someone who has only been at it for a year or two. Tuptō is this album’s lunar exploration. There’s so much attention to the highs and lows, in all its crackling details and gray areas. The spaciness of Skia finds its way into your core, it’s reverb is very physical, sculpting the negative space around as you listen. There are muttering voices entwined throughout, perhaps noting an alien presence. The sweet astral black hole of space on Ganos and Phōs eventually leads to the altered state turmoil of Kruos. In the end Arktos leads the listener to a balance of windy stretches that come to a coordinated halt. Dan Somta has made a stealth record worth repeat listening sessions.

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