Crow, the one man band behind Lord Lovidicus and Jotun, comes at us in 2016 with a new project known as "Sommus". It arrives with an alluring album cover that wouldn't of hinted at an electronic project to me but with his darker leanings intact it very much suits and represents what is a chilled out, mix of electronica and ambience packaged with an ethereal glow about it. At 52 minutes the self titled record makes a warm and welcome stay setting a mood and tone without attempting any grand theatrics. There is little astonishing or remarkable taking place but rather a temperate, downtempo record that defines its uniqueness and easy atmosphere quickly, taking us on a ride through a selection of layered melodies and harmonious synthesizers.
Two big distinctions are made immediately. Firstly the lightly whirling synthesizers, hazy and soft like thick air accommodate the deeper regions of range, glowing like a warm fog of color sweeping into the song. With pitch shifts they utilize the notes transition as a composition element, sometimes to give the chord changes a flair and equally its used as the focal point of a melodies direction, more often than not in time with the musics flow and on rare occasions drawn out over a bar or two.
Secondly the fruity loops standard drum kit samples are so recognizable they may be a touch off putting at first, however using whatever is available Crow has engineered them to a point where it makes no difference. The beats are sturdy and carry the songs well with plenty of variety and breaks to keep it fresh. There is the occasional fast stuttering hi hat reminiscent of Trap and some great downtempo beats here and there but mostly its the foggy synths and leads that define this sound.
The records production is a little harsh at times with the more aggressive synths crowding out the other instruments on occasion. The hit hats and claps cut through however there is a charm to this that works with the sleepy synths which breath, expanding and contracting with the sub kicks and pitch shifts. Sommus is a solid debut however the nature of its ambience and introduction of a new flavor lets it get away with a few weaker tracks and thinner compositions. Its best moments are where the layers and melodies stack up and work together, in opposition of the minimal tracks that operate with less. In those better moments the project is more reminiscent of Jotun and could of possibly been released as the 8th record, however this sound is a big shift and deserves its own name.
Favorite Tracks: Halycon Dreams III, Moon Forest