Album Review: Somnambuliya – Sleep Deprivation

Label: Trippin’ the Rift

From deep within the dense forests of Russia a subtle frenetic beat begins to pound. Augmented by a wave of dreamy harmonies, a deep and sullen voice croons in its native language. The piano hums a somber melody as the snow lazily drifts down from the sky. Lack of sleep has taken over and a waking dream assaults your senses. A new world appears and there is no way of knowing if it is a tangible presence or merely a tricky phantasm sent here to fool your perception. In this state of conscious hibernation the music has complete control over you, making you see whatever it wants you to.

The piano cuts into you like an icy wind. Taps and clicks accompany the wind and stutter out a lazy and comfortable pattern. You wrap around the slowly winding curves of the beat and let it take you. It sails across a desolate winter, drifting smoothly past snow drifts and icicle-draped evergreens. It is all so beautiful yet melancholy. The soft singing hypnotizes your sleep impoverished mind, massaging your synapses and reviving weakened cells.

You can’t understand what is being said but this ignorance has an added aesthetic benefit. The Russian lyrics have a disorienting effect in this dismantled state. The emotive inflections are understood but not the actual words; all meaning absorbed in a deep cavern somewhere inside your head. Somnambuliya’s dark textures are a morose experience that fuel your emotions with deep disconsolate moods. It’s all laid out on a waving tapestry that plays beautifully sincere music. Together they can be ridden to the edge of consciousness, the music guiding you towards sleep.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Winter Song


Review: Somnarium – Frost

Label: Earth Mantra
Catalog No: earman160

Somnarium is the work of Michael Meara’s ambient orchestral movements. His goal is to create soundscapes for sleep states and various forms of inner journeys. This album is very atmospheric but not in an engaging way. It is something to have on in the background. I don’t recommend it for a conscious state. It is best played while meditating or while trying to achieve an subconscious state of mind. It is difficult to consider this an album in the normal sense; it’s more of a series of orchestral movements for the soul.

There is not much emotional expression in these pieces. They were inspired by isolation and human endurance during the polar expeditions of the early 20th Century. There is a sense of loneliness but it is not dark enough to truly express the isolation felt by someone in the middle of nowhere. The album starts out very dull with a long monotonous track. Repetition is essential to drone works but there still needs to be enchantment to keep someone listening. As the album continues the pieces get progressively more stimulating, like an advancement to a higher state of consciousness.

An album of this degree is meant to be played while attaining spiritual fulfillment. If listened to the way it was made for, it can help you drift along your brain waves and awaken your senses to a more aware world.

Standout track: The Cape
Rating: 3.5 stars

A Frozen Waterfall

The recent cold in the Midwest has turned one of the bushes outside the house into an icicle dreamscape. Photographic evidence had to be taken.