Patience is a rare commodity in music nowadays. Artists feel they’re taking a risk by adding any sort of suspense. The result is music that caters to the “instantaneous” nature of the modern day.
On ‘Oracle’ Irish producer Somadrone lives and dies on his ability to keep things steadily evolving throughout its runtime. It demands the listener to stay tuned in, as the music slowly evolves and unravels, which in some cases can be to its detriment. What you’re left with is a rich electronic soundscape, but one that lacks any significant punch.
There are some high points. Caustic City paints the most vivid picture as the landscape erodes and decays around you. The track plays out like a lucid dream trapped in a time capsule from the ’80s. There is beauty in the downfall as he sings “In these cobblestones we find a meaning/In these faces, timeless traces/This caustic city”.
It’s often the world that Somadrone creates that is more appealing than what actually inhabits it. The Swimmer with it’s jangling acoustic guitar brings us down below, as the song eventually opens out with a pulsating bass bringing us back to the surface.
There are times though where the music is spread too thin and where repetition of material loses its lustre; like on Life Support. For someone who has been compared to the likes of Steve Reich and Philip Glass for his minimalist tendencies, the track’s cyclical nature becomes a burden instead of a blessing.
Then there is Invitation, it features Jape singer Richie Egan as he backs up Somadrone on vocals. It has simple beginnings as a piano plays over their echoed vocals. The track is always in a state of flux as it never settles, inviting you to go along for the ride. It keeps you waiting as he sings “A bedroom nocturnal/An unmade bed forsaken/The last glance unmistaken/Waiting for an invitation,” the final word triggers as a sub bass propels the song into the stratosphere.
It’s a moment of deliverance on an album that otherwise finds it hard to put the pieces together. Somadone’s intentions are good but the album often lacks a coherent direction. There are moments of reflection and moments of action, but all too often he gets caught in the middle between the two.