London-based singer/songwriter and rapper Somasu breaks through stereotypical electro, offering undercurrents of soul that provide depth and maturity. Although his work could hit the dancefloor hard, its also infinitely listenable, proving that – in the right hands – the genre is a solid vessel for melodic communication. His second album – a five-track EP From The Water– glimpses the breadth of influences that inhabit Somasu’s work. Exploring a theme of isolation and redemption, there is an honesty to his music which, whether personal or reflective, will resonate with anyone who has battled with their demons.
Somasu’s capacity to weave emotion through his music reveals his alter-egos as a poet and a scientist. As he explains:
“My love for poetry and mathematics shape the way I think about words and melodic composition. I want my music to be unpredictable, different and exciting, while still showing small glimpses of familiarity.”
Before you read on, Somasu is giving a FREE download of “Permutations”, from the album, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
Even if you’re not usually drawn to electro, opening track “Everybody Loves You” has enough soul in the vocal to keep you listening. Offering a mellow, yearning hook-line over complex and compelling arrangements, this is a song that stays in the mind long after the outro.
Blending dance with dream-pop, “Permutations” speaks of hardships on the road to redemption. There’s desire and dysfunction in equal measures, repaying multiple replays to get to the heart of the message. Luckily, Somasu provides the lyrics in the notes to his Soundcloud uploads, giving the opportunity to enjoy the poetry alongside the music.
Raising the tempo, “Gabi” continues the theme of redemption into relationships. Who (or what) is Gabi? Whether a person or a product, we may not know, but if music reflects reality, their revelation is immortalised in a deliciously dreamy lyric dripped over smoothly engaging vibes.
The tension between temptation and redemption sits at the heart of “You Want Help”. Bringing soul to the fore, whilst honouring his rap credentials, Somasu provides a melodic exploration of emotions often hidden from view. There is room for interpretation in the clever use of the everyday, which once again marks out the contemporary poetry at the core of the song.
Urging us towards the end of the collection, “Still” brings a more traditional hip-hop sound while delivering an authentic sting of urban pain:
“I am all the things you migrate
I know the things you stagnate
I wrote the book you narrate – ah
We will burn your house, mate
Just don’t forget the floodgates, yah”
before sliding into the effortless hookline “On this broken glass I lay..Run this block, I run this block, I…”
Somasu wrote the songs for this EP in just two months, and his advice for people who are just starting out with their music reflects his prolific creative process:
“Write and record as many songs as possible (at least, 2 songs a week). Always ask for feedback from musicians that you don’t know personally (for unbiased and constructive feedback). And never give up and don’t be afraid to experiment.”
From The Water is self-released on 31 July. Get your copy here
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