Artist: My Sleeping Karma
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: psychedelic groove rock
Soma is the 4th studio album of German psychedelic band My Sleeping Karma. Although released on a metal label, the atmosphere of the album is of flowing calm, with here and there a wave of rock through it.
The 11-track long album (including the 5 “Interlude” pieces) has all tracks flowing from one idea into the other, without much discernible difference. Soma is a lovely album for background music, but it initially failed at grasping my attention and didn't invite me to actually go and discover what is hiding in the tracks.
Without the capability to actually stand out, the album does holds some genuinely beautiful psychedelic moments. Noteworthy is the way the final track “Psilocybe” builds up: from spaced out chords, adding strumming, then drums, and finally layering distorted guitars into something Anathema might have composed, dwelling in layers of emotion and depth. That track really resonates with me.
Tracks such as “Pachyclada”, “Ephedra” and “Saumya” could compete with the better instrumental post-rock work of the moment (think the work of MONO, The Album Leaf or This Will Destroy You), when the listener takes the effort to open up and explore the richness of the tracks.
More distorted rock-oriented riffs are featured on “Eleusine coracana” and “Somalantha”, a composition in which the lead guitar plays a hypnotizing role. As these tracks are distributed over the album, it feels as if the previous tracks are preparing for this burst of energy suddenly arising.
The “Interlude” tracks are filled with delicate sounds an gently make the listener glide from one track to the next, without losing the narrative of the album.
This narrative, or trip that My Sleeping Karma creates requires an effort to pay attention to the music, instead of drifting off on its waves, but with some persistence beautiful patterns can be discovered. Just like the artwork, that seems to be a black and white stoner sketch at first, but that turns out to hide many details if you care to stop and study it more deeply, the album too seems to hide its gems under covers.
You can listen to my favorite track “Psilocybe” from Soma here:
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