Review: SOHN @ Village Underground 17/04/2014

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On April 7th, British-born, Vienna-based electronic musician Christopher Taylor, known primarily as SOHN unveiled his debut album Tremors. It’s likely you may already be aware of SOHN; he leaked several sterling tracks throughout the last couple of years, earning himself a place as one of the most intreguing producers in recent month. Plus his collaborations with other electronic up-and-comers such as Banks and Kwabs have made him a force to be reckoned with. With all this in mind, I got myself down to Village Underground in Old Street to see the man himself do his thing.

It was my first expedition to Village Underground, and as a venue I was impressed. It’s like the tardis, deceivingly bigger on the inside – the high brick walls give a spacious, open feel and allow the sound to waft effortlessly around the space. It was the perfect venue for the miasma of sound that is SOHN’s own brand minimalist electronica.

Bathed in shadow and dressed a Jedi-like hood, Ransom Notes sets the precedent for the evening. Teaming with electronic soul, you can feel the bass line right to the core; every note on point, matched by every flicker of the light show which dances around the stage. It obscures any detail and for 70% of the set the man is cast in ominous shadow; only a seated, hooded silhouette is visible, gently moving with the beat. Shades of blood red, blues and magentas billow around him, but it is always the music which is the complete focus.

Spending his time hopping between London and Vienna means that his music has become an expression of two different worlds; the rush of noise delivered through the breakdowns in Fool and single Artifice could be seen as a representative of the ever transforming London metropolis, while the peacefulness of Vienna can be felt in the pensive Bloodflows, or melancholy Tempest. His music languishes in concise, perfectly executed soundscapes, with the lyrics playing as much of a role as the cascading synths. His vocals choir boy elegant, but equally powerful while the lyrics themselves are moody and contemplative; If you’re thinking off letting me do then it’s time that you do rings around the hall as the drumless rendition of Tremors makes the space feel ten times the size.

By the time the throbbing opening loops of Lessons begin the play out, the crowd feels comfortable enough to move about more than the socially accepted head bobbing which has dominated most of the audience reaction thus far. When the bass drops it’s a near spiritual experience as the warm melodies swallow you whole. I died a week ago/There’s nothing left begins The Wheel, the final track of the evening and one of the biggest fan favourites, providing one the biggest sing-a-longs for a fairly subdued audience.

SOHN is very much is own creation – his music is solitary, made for quiet nights in rather than the classic EDM scene. With the release of Tremors, a growing fan base and another sold-out London show in September, I don’t see SOHN fading into the background anytime soon. He is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

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