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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Son Of Ohm Sadhana (2023)

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

A good album of minimalist and hypnotic Berlin School of the 70's

1 Wonderwall 9:57

2 Distant Dreaming 8:30

3 Flashback 9:29

4 Shifting Colours 10:39

5 Beginnings 8:37

(DDL 47:15) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

Leonardo Wijma has found the path of his inspiration to offer us his first opus in over 24 months. SADHANA, a Sanskrit term used to designate a daily spiritual practice, is a bit far cry from the sequenced rhythms of the last Son of Ohm. If Reflections plunged straight into the Berlin School style, it's a bit different with this album, which kicks off with these analog rhythms conceived from jerky guitar riffs that roll in loops. The music features these structures and these repetitive rhythms always inspired by the Manuel Göttsching universe, with or without @shra. From track to track, the pace increases, culminating in Shifting Colours. An album that requires a few listens and, above all, headphones to absorb its atmospheric and rhythmic dimensions. Otherwise, you miss out on the subtleties that make SADHANA so rich.

Wonderwall goes in our ears with extraterrestrial tones, interstellar winds and typist's clap-like beats, or tap-dancing on a rolling wheel. It's when the guitar traces riffs that flow in rhythmic loops that the symbiosis of the 4 elements sculpts a soft rhythm. A circular rhythm that makes us bend our knees and wiggle. A little more, and we're back 50 years. To the hippie years. The 70's. A bass constantly moves forward and back, dancing a cha-cha at 2 paces. It accentuates the fluidity of the rhythm, which runs for almost 10 minutes in a minimalist mode and features a sustained modulation that makes the structure increasingly spasmodic. And like with Göttsching, it's the guitar's loops, the reverberating effects and the looping riffs that set the rhythm on SADHANA. Distant Dreaming thus offers a structure quite similar to Wonderwall, but with more energy in the flow, and speed in the deployment of the loops that roll by hopping jolts. A good organic tone, a kind of Jew's harp, is added to the rhythmic sprint that eases off early on, around the 6-minute mark, to present the meatless skeleton of a rhythm that crumbles its gambols and momentums.

The hollow breezes and cosmic effects that lurked discreetly in the firmament of Wonderwall are more present in the opening of Flashback, which immediately goes for a rhythm created by those guitar riffs stitched in loops. This is the birth of good cosmic rock, which is quite catchy frankly. Two arpeggios tinkle innocently over this structure, which is half-darkened by reverberating effects and drones. The cosmic effects reappear, as the guitar repeats its actions more incisively. Rhythmic elements, such as bass-pulse double-claps, and percussions pattern bring more dynamism as the synth unwinds ghostly melody lines. A more nasal line blows in parallel, lending a psychedelic edge and recalling the emergence of the 70's EM. I'm thinking of Tangerine Dream and Neu! among others. It's a very good track, with a nice ghostly burst of energy around the 6-minute mark. Shifting Colours follows Flashback's tangent, offering a good Berlin School on a slightly livelier structure where the bass line does a colossal job with leaps that have an organic tendency. The melodious filaments still have that hissing spectral nuance, while the mellotron, more present here, draws musical wings and banks of mythical mist that hover over and encircle a bewitching, hypnotic rhythm. The whistling, spectral ululations of the synth are transposed on the superb Beginnings and its cosmic slow rhythm that bewitches the senses as much as it revives the memory. It's like some cosmic bluegrass, with the guitar stretching out its repetitive harmonies over a slow-motion rhythm, like a merry-go-round that gradually freezes into romanticism. It's super-simplistic, but so effective it makes you dream, your eyes filling with tears. A superb closing track on an album we love more and more with each new listen, even if it always sounds like the same old movements. The sublimity of minimalist EM!

Sylvain Lupari (August9th, 2023) ***½**

Available at Son of Ohm Bandcamp

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)

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