Expansive, dreamy multi-instrumentalism
Applying his classical training to lo-fi production, Los Angeles-based musical polymath Leo Shulman, aka Somni, crafts fractured, experimental arrangements run through with the warmth of West Coast soul. Here you can find tinges of folk songcraft and the playful cut-and-paste beat collages of his Friends Of Friends labelmates like Daedelus.
Somni means “dream” in Catalan, and perfectly fits the vibe of new album ‘Home’ – a woozy, semi-conscious soundscape filled with optimism. Building on 2018’s debut album ‘Bloom’, ‘Home’ is a richer affair crafted with a wide array of instrumentation, everything from acoustic guitar, synths, melodica, zither and toy piano, blended with field recordings and tape manipulation. It’s an album of intense depths and if you’re after something that connects classic Californian songwriting and soulful vocal samples with J Dilla-style beats, this is the album you need. ‘One Last Time’ is a warped, summery R&B jam, ‘Going Back’ adopts Prefuse 73’s glitched approach to melody and ‘Unravel’ is a scratchy manipulation of the folk template.
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Somni found a perfect home on Friends Of Friends, which hosts other eccentric beat-manipulators like Daedelus and Schlomo. This environment of adventurous producers is just the right place for his creations. His intricate instrumentation and tight grip on everything melodic isn’t a surprise! Shulman practically has music in his blood – his father is renowned session and concert cellist Andrew Shulman (LA Chamber Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, Britten Quartet, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra) and Leo graduated in jazz guitar from The New School in New York, before working as an audio engineer in San Francisco. It’s this entire journey informs the sounds on ‘Home’.
‘Home’ is out on Friends Of Friends