Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Music - Part 220 - Sontag Shogun

Sontag Shogun – Tale (Luau Records)
Out Now

Brooklyn experimental trio release their debut album.

Before we start, let’s just call this album beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.

Three years in the making Sontag Shogun have created something so gorgeous and luscious that it’s a stunning aural delight.  Largely instrumental the new album, Tale, uses grand piano, oscillators and a nepenenoyka  harp (no, me neither), to produce soundscapes that are pitch perfect, semi-ambient, explorations in a quite stunning sound.  To be honest, there have been several times when I’ve started writing this review but ended up just listening to the album.  Again.

Recorded while the trio were based in separate locations around the world, Tale evokes senses of loneliness in locations that can be interpreted only by the listener.  Maybe a trip with a crew of a fishing trawler or a solemn walk across bare, misty countryside, the album’s ability to transport you and transfix you elsewhere is unique.

There will be comparisons to Kate Bush’s 50 Words For Snow, and it’s completely justified.  Timeless, spacious and the work of genius, it wistfully glides from track to track in an effortless swirl of breathtaking ease.  The Musk Ox is simply delightful.

Various sound recordings of voices and noises are subtly included which add to the overall mystique of the album as they seem to serve no logical purpose but to add texture and character to every one.  Hungarian Wheat is stunning and conjures up memories of Michael Nyman’s soundtrack for The Piano.  A track that is jam packed with simplicity.

Heavily influenced by the likes of Philip Glass and Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sontag Shogun blend both the modern classical with gentle ambiance.  Orbit Insertion takes us into outer space, whilst Beyond Wynd Gey goes anywhere your imagination will allow. 

There are no boundaries with Tale – “they make music to dream away to, or from”.  A quite exquisite album of wonderful emptiness.



Published on Louder Than War 18/05/14 - here

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