By James Peppercorn, MA English Literature
Sonotto, the musical outfit of Bristol based, Scottish born artist Otto Neckel, has finally dropped his new EP Could We Be Closer, and by god does it hit hard. Having released only one song prior to the EP, the jazz-electronic ‘Awaken, My Silence’, Sonotto has played innumerable gigs in and around Bristol for the past few years, building up hype and interest wherever he plays.
His live shows, which are eclectic and spontaneous to say the least, are injected with the kind of energy, flailing limbs and attitude you would expect from a Tiger on the loose in an antelope farm. As he throws himself around, his music encompasses him and the audience in one enormous wave of manic euphoria. His songs, as they traverse the barriers between electronica, jazz, minimalist, avant-garde and sound collage, seem to blend seamlessly through the wider musical landscape. Could We Be Closer beautifully inhabits the innumerable layers to Sonotto’s sound and scope.
Opener ‘Lightbox’ begins the piece with a quiet and mellow xylophone and bass note build, slowly opening into a vast electronic field of flowering sounds. Similarly to innumerable Warp Record artists from the likes of Aphex Twin through to Flying Lotus, he uses those beautiful motifs and expands them to their gorgeous end point. ‘Who, What, Now’ might be the most Flying Lotus track I’ve ever heard not by Flying Lotus. The bass line that comes in halfway through adds a new dimension to the song with a near soft funk groove to it. Penultimate track ‘The Lightside’ cools things down with an ambient piece that allows the finally ‘Rose, Leaf, Blossom’ to reach its magnificent peak. A monolithic tour de france seems to incorporate and interpolate the whole of the electronic landscape over the past 20 years as it builds, descends, and finally blossoms.
A stunning first outing from a Bristol local that sounds lived in and looking forward, building a fascinating and expansive path for electronic music. His EP launch gig at Art Club on the 4th of Feb will not be a show to miss. This EP will be on repeat for a long time to come, and who knows what Sonotto might release next… whatever it is, it’s sure to be thrilling.
Featured image: Sonotto
Have you heard the new album?