Thursday, 11 February 2016

Matchess - Somnaphoria, album review


Matches is Chicago solo artist Whitney Johnson, and her 2015 album Somnaphoria is an electronic, symphonic sound that uses voice and viola in augmented/altered ways to help create the brooding, pulsing, looping currents across more recognisable, if occasional, musical characters like plucked strings or woodwind, though these too are presumably produced electronically.

Whilst there are 11 tracks, split across two lp sides Awake and Dream, these states of being are not that explicitly reflected in the musical tones/moods/pace of each, and all does tend to merge for the impact of the whole rather than shifts between each – though there are differing sections like the dual orchestra//viola distortion of sixth track Sinister Prophecies Of Coming Catastrophe The Cold, which ‘ends’ Awake (Side A), eerily, and then seventh track Burst Asunder, which naturally 'begins' Dream (Side B) which is a foregrounding of vocal sounds over a harmonium-esque repetitive base. But this then segues into eighth, Stripped Of Its Halo, and thus the merging continues.

It is essentially atmospheric, and hypnotically so.

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