SOHN: Rennen (4AD)

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Still Waters
SOHN: Rennen (4AD)

More lowkey pop-electronica from 4AD, this from British-born SOHN (Chris Taylor) who has relocated from Europe to LA and created these 10 gently soulful songs for his second album while on a quiet retreat in Northern California.

There are some tasty groove-riding r’n’b influences here: Conrad, the leisurely pulse of Signal, the especially lovely Primary with its weightless first half before the beats are established. These are alongside pieces which sound more akin to earth-born ambience (the stacatto Dead Wrong which contains some of the experimentalism of Brian Eno’s early solo albums).

The ethereal minimalism of the title track, the glitch-cum-soul of Falling (with an Eno-like coda of repetition and sonic gristle) and the almosty holy stasis of Still Waters – engaging a similar sense of spiritual wonder as the Cocteau Twins’ Song for the Siren -- add the necessary breadth to an album which broadcasts on a narrow frequency of its own refinement.

Although the politically ambiguous Proof, and Harbour at the end, don’t add anything more to what SOHN has delivered elsewhere, this is an album where everything is all of a piece but the individual component songs have a discreet presence.

Perhaps a bit too muted for some, but at its best – and there’s a thick wedge of that – Rennen (which means “to run” in German, which is ironic because this never breaks a sweat, ) is one of those quiet keepers.

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