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  • Sylvain Lupari

SON OF OHM: Astronaut (2017)

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

“If you are into a true psychedelic ambient vibe of the vintage years, this one's for you!”

1 The Brain Connection 7:49 2 Floating 11:25 3 Intermission 8:35 4 Time Machine 7:49 5 Spaceman 10:23 6 Hypnosis 13:48 Son of Ohm Music (DDL 59:52) (Psychedelic and Space Rock)

It's following the reviews I wrote about Sula Bassana music that I was put in contact with Son of Ohm. According to the information which was given to me, ASTRONAUT, 2nd opus of Son of Ohm would meet these criteria of seduction which had transported me during my listening and my chronicles of the albums The Ape Regards His Tail and Organ Accumulator / Disappear. But first of all, who is Son of Ohm? It's a Dutch musician, Holland became a real arboretum of artists propelled by the Kosmik Musik or the Berlin School styles, who is very active on the musical scene since the end of the 90's. Very attracted by a psychedelic approach, Leonardo Wijma is inspired by a whole range of artists who go from Ash Ra Temple to Led Zeppelin by way of Gong (Steve Hillage) and Hawkwind, without forgetting timeless ones like The Beatles, Bowie, Zappa, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze to name only those. And it's under various names (Leonardo Soundweaver, Astral Son and Son of Ohm) that the musician of Groningen gathers a public as much diversified as his styles which go from cosmic music to psychedelic music, Krautrock and a more experimental kind as well as the minimalist sequenced model of Ashra. In brief, a pallet of styles that we can meet in one of his albums, like this one.

A chord of a grave tone spreads its fathomless shadow at the same time as a stroboscopic wave spins in order to weave the floating rhythm and gently jerky of The Brain Connection. Subtly, the dark malaisante shadow is transformed into an abstruse melody which is bombarded by a sequencer and its minimalist mode into a cosmic decoration of the vintage years, while a line of bass pulsations crumbles some splendid percussive effects. Little by little, the rhythmic skeleton scatters its resources to isolate only a crystal clear sequence which skips shyly in a soundscape closer of oblivion with layers of lugubrious organs which transform their platonic tunes into a line a little more acute. There are enough elements of seduction in this title to push a little farther my discovery of Son of Ohm's universe. You should not trust the title of Floating to judge of its contents. Far from being floating, the title approaches our ears with extraterrestrial organic effects which grasps a good structure which is livened up by a Krautrock approach of the good years of Ash Ra Tempel. Two lines of rhythm contiguous give a rhythmic life while separating their approaches among which one which aims to be more harmonious while the other line is a bass one which is more in mode minimalist beat. Layers, keyboard riffs and effects add a Space Rock dimension to this track which espouses a bit the finale of The Brain Connection. To my ears, the slow and very hypnotic rhythm of "Intermission" is the small jewel of ASTRONAUT. Very close of RichardPinhas' territories in his Iceland to L'Ethique era, the rhythm is forged in a meshing of sequence moiré which sparkle and skip in a structure crawling and speckled of splendid nuances in its progression. The melody, weaved in the harmonies of a synth in mode nostalgia, is as much mesmerizing as its rhythmic skeleton and its soundscape as well as the percussive effects which will blow your ears away. Splendid! In its rhythmic structure, just as much minimalist and charmingly reminiscent of Ash Ra Tempel's vintages years, Time Machine is not outdone with its rhythmic structure charmingly raised on a movement of guitar loops a la Manuel Göttsching which roll and wave in a fascinating esoteric landscape with juicy percussive effects which are absolutely attractive. But Intermission throws at it too much shadow. That's says quite a lot about the depth and the wealth of this title. Also well settled on loops of sequences and oscillating waves which structure an ambient rhythmic approach, Spaceman brings us to a degree of tension which had been contained up to here in the first 4 tracks of ASTRONAUT. It's chords from a dark keyboard which throw this aura while layers and surrounding noises satiate our listening by a touch of psychedelism set up in a shape of sound psychosis. Intense and icy, Spaceman reflects particularly well the idea behind its title! Hypnosis is a purely an ambient title. Modulations of waves push effects of jerk which float with alternate impulses in a dense veil weaved in fruits of the vapors from some soft drugs. This is a superb and a true vintage psybient! As first contact, I have adored the music of ASTRONAUT which is a very interesting album in a modern society which too often forgets its past. The music is nostalgic but is never outmoded by the new technologies which facilitate now the art to create electronic music. Manuel Göttsching's influences and this Space Rock a la Ash Ra Tempel are well felt here but they are never an obstacle to the creativity of Son of Ohm. I look forward to discovering Syrinx now! Sylvain Lupari (October 24th, 2017) *****

SynthSequences.com

Available on Son of Ohm Bandcamp

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© 2019 by Alexandre Corbin for Synth&Sequences \ Sylvain (A.K.A. Phaedream) Lupari

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