Review – Soma release impressive debut album by Petrichor

Soma present an debut album from an artist that has been causing quite a stir in Scotland for some time. He goes by the name of Simon Stokes AKA Petrichor, and he has established himself firmly into the Soma family with a number of EPs on the label that have brought some serious attention from the big names. Besides writing his own productions, Simon is also the founder of Shoogle Studios, his own music production school. He is also the only Ableton certified trainer in Scotland, and has taken on the duty of running the illustrious Soma Skool which helps a new breed of producers find their feet in the world of electronic music production.

Simon’s impressive collection of hardware, and his excellent knowledge of Ableton has refined his sound, and helped his to craft an intricate, multifaceted album that draws in many influences and interesting soundscapes.

The opening track on the album, “Komorebi” is an electronic and subtle introduction into the sounds that will follow through this album. The track appears to build from silence into a field of warm bass tones and well crafted orchestral sounding pads. The track has a great broken beat that never overtakes the swarm of delightful warm melodies but makes you aware that this album is going to be a journey you will want to last. The opening track leads beautifully into the second track, “Antigen” that begins with warm, uplifting pads that fill the track like a warm breeze on a sling day. However it isn’t too long before the track quickly presents itself as a bass-laiden acid tinged delight filled with some unforgettable synth hooks that keep the track alive. The analogue sounds that are presented here are a pure joy. This is already presenting itself as an album by a man that is truly a pioneer in his field!

After the warmth of “Antigen” you are presented with the almost glitchy sounds of “Amor Fati” which not unlike the previous track, slowly builds into a track laden with a broken breaks, awesome hi hats that give that track that almost live, Leftfield sound, and those subtle key wobbles. Simply a joy to hear and one that certainly picks up the pace of the album. This track leads into the title track “Mångata” which begins with its interesting drum patterns and haunting pitch shifting chords. Petrichor uses vocal snippets that sit just over the top of the delightful chords, and a rather upfront kick drum that thunders from within the track to always keep that element of interest before the it kicks in and out to tease the listener. I love how Petrichor teases the listener and makes them think the track is going to turn into a techno banger but it never really does!

“Louber” is the first track we hear that is a four to the floor workout, and it leads on perfectly from “Mångata” with its teasing kicks and broken beats. “Louber” has a great percussive house vibe to it with some joyful uplifting pads and well placed effects, all is tightly placed together to form a superb number that is perfectly placed on the album. The next track “Kepler 186-F” moves away from the four by four sound and adds a sublime ethereal sound that welcomes listeners to an even darker, more sci fi sounding part of this incredible album. The track builds pace but never into what you might hope breaks into a savage techno number but that is not a bad thing at all. I get the feeling this artist really loves to tease his listeners and with this album he does just that, rarely every letting the hammer down but wowing with his incredible knowledge of electronic elements and how to construct them in a way that will amaze.

Speaking of letting the hammer down, the track that follows “State Function” does just that as we once again enter the sounds of techno for what is to be the last time on the album. This track has a fierce kick and gets to work from the off. If you want you techno and you like it dark head straight for this number. “State Function” although more techno orientated continues to don its cap to the ethereal sounds that this producer creates with such finesse. The track has a great bouncing bassline that guides the listener throughout and the percussion compliments the darkness of the track with such quality. Easily one of my favourites on the album.

“Nukumori” is the perfect way to settle back to ambient sounds and beautiful chords. This track would sound just as good at Cafe Mambo as it would at the start of a dark techno set. A track that must be listened to and appreciated in full! This really is the white to the previous track’s black. A stunning piece of writing here from an artist that has grabbed my full attention. After the joyful reprise of “Nukumori” Petrichor lifts the pace a little with a great deep, funky sounding number that is entitled “Flight Behaviour”. The track has lush warm melodies and perfectly executed glistening keys that bounce from the track like dancing rain drops falling on a waxy leaf. A sublime journey into this producers more house sounding influences. The bassline in this track will stick in your head like glue. I have been humming this most of the evening since listening.

The album is brought to a close by a very special version of “On Tides” and what a way to bring the album to a close. It reminds me of those twinkling melodies by the likes of Trentemoller or such like. This track would grace intros to mixes as well as outros, and it would be a fitting end to any musical journey. I began listing to this album with a very open mind and was blown away by Petrichor’s clear talents when manipulating electronic music in the studio. I will certainly be keeping a very close eye on this man from now on and I suggest you also do the same. This is an album that transcends ambient, electronica, breaks, techno, and even funk. It is an album that shall remain in my car and on my iPod for some time. Thank you Petrichor!!!

Tracklist

01. Komorebi
02. Antigen
03. Amor Fati
04. Mångata
05. Louba
06. Kepler 186-F
07. State Function
08. Nukumori (Reprise)
09. Flight Behaviour
10. On Tides (Mångata Rework)
11. Continuous Mix [DIGITAL ONLY]


Ian French
About the Author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about every genre of music from Breakbeat, to Drum & Bass, to Techno and Progressive House. If he was to describe his preferred style of music he would probably describe it simply as electronic music. Besides his love for music and DJing his other passions are fine cuisine, wine, and travel.