Dreamy californian sampleadelica
Somni is the alias of Leo Shulman, a British expat who decamped to sunny California when he was eight. He’s from a musical family, and it shows. He has an academic grounding in jazz, but an ear for the strange and wonderful and how both can interact harmoniously, without ever sounding like a muddled, shambolic mess.
Shulman is a producer skilled in the art of cutting and splicing seemingly incompatible ideas together. On ‘Bloom’, his debut album, you get sounds turned into oddly disjointed loops, rhythms fashioned out of whatever was lying around at the time, and blissed-out genteel Latin guitar samples, all hung from scaffolding in the form of innovative beats that owe as much to hip hop as they do to be-bop.
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Shulman spent three painstaking years working on ‘Bloom’, and his care and patience is apparent across its ten diverse pieces. From the tender, sun-soaked ruminations of ‘Girl’ to the carefully hacked-up classical motifs of ‘Before’ and ‘In Waves’, this album is a restless, ever-shifting affair. The emotional ‘Silver’ and ‘Crickets’ are dreamy, serene highlights, seemingly content to drift along aimlessly, but listen closer and they’re both full of churning, never-repeating patterns and ideas shifting liking sands on Santa Monica beach. Neither one thing nor another, Somni has created a sublime sonic vernacular entirely of his own, manifestly clever and utterly free of sampleadelic kitsch.
‘Bloom’ is released by Friends