psomni reviews

Album: Minimalism
Label: Spat!

Let it be known that Nashville's Psomni make a whole lot of racket considering that they are merely four in number.

On their latest release Mechanics of Mind, the band has crafted songs full of complex melodies, inventive instrumentation, and mechanical warmth. Beautifully produced by J. Childs at Bionic Ear Music, this disc showcases the talents of a group of musicians who realize that loud distorted guitars are not always the only way to achieve a shift in intensity. There are actually a bare minimum of guitars on this record; most of the melodies are created on a synthesizer, and the backbone of the instrumentation is formed primarily by the very strong bass skills of June Kato and the tight percussion of Newell Anderson.

The songs fluctuate in mood and tone, all the while maintaining an odd balance of indie rock grittiness, middle-eastern moodiness, and darkwave-ish depression. Also, this record is overflowing with subtle nuances that very well might escape a listener's attention until the third or fourth playing.

The primary weak point in this disc is the lack of variation in vocal effects from track to track. The vocal tracks nearly all contain heavy, heavy echo and chorus which the average listener will tire of quickly. While the implementation of many of the vocal melodies is interesting, more often than not the constant effects serve more to obscure vocalist Matt Morris than to highlight his strengths.

Overall, this is a good disc. It is a far cry from most of the crap that comes out of the southeast's indie scene. Mechanics of Mind is unique enough to be interesting, but not so much as to be inaccessible. The disc contains seven audio tracks, as well as CD-ROM content (two remixes and two cool videos), making it a disc well worth picking up.

CJ Bargamian...Southeast Performer

Man oh man, this is a well-structured musical collage of exotic, lightly industrialized sounds with hypnotic soul-stirring flourishes of eastern mysticism! It's as if a shamanistic band of gothic electronic minstrels were performing in an alternate dimension in a sacred Hindu temple in Calcutta.

Imagine The Cure, Bauhaus, and Jane's Addiction being submerged in the spiritual holy waters of the Ganges River for one mortal lifetime and then being reincarnated as an ethereal sonic swirling dervish that can never be tamed, quieted, or put to rest. psomni are aurally omnipresent and as resplendently colorful as life itself... they are to my ears what frothy brewed nectar is to my soul. Now if you'll please excuse me, I'm gonna turn off my mind, relax, and float downstream awhile...
by Roger Moser, Jr….Razorcake Magazine

A trio, recorded by a Nashville label, who manage to sound as though they've come out of Manchester. Their music is a dark, gritty trawl through gloomy Gothic terrain where bass lines shudder and the vocals are grey and shot through with angst. Well, I think its angst. At times the voice is processed and tries to bellow up out of the mix and at others it is apparently singing in Albanian or Japanese. Really.

There is an atmosphere of industrial decay which hangs over the post-Punk melancholia and that too puts me in mind of the metropolis which spawned gloom meisters like Joy Division. Sure enough, they are cited as an influence, as are Radiohead, Eno and Sonic Youth. So it gives you some clues about the territory. The leaden quality of the first three or four tracks is redolent of staring for hours at a sheet of cast iron slowly rusting in the rain. But occasionally, their sound is enlivened by the judicious use of other instruments, such as keyboards and sax. Then they break out of the ponderous rhythms and the music becomes more spacious and less claustrophobic.

It is early days for this band. If they can shrug off some of their turgid leanings and develop their tentative explorations into Ambient and Jazz-tinged Electronica they will be worth following.
by Paul Donnelly…

Ever listened to a short-wave radio? Imagine listening to yours on a midnight flight over Cairo. Imagine it catching signals from the night-time revelry of the Marrakech marketplace, the throbbing pulses of L.A. clubland, the digitally buzzing raves of Amsterdam, and the soundwaves of a million disaffected American kids crunching guitars in their basements. Imagine that the static between the signals glues the sound together. This is psomni's Minimalism, a gutsy and adventurous recording that weaves together all these elements with remarkable coherence.

It's a marriage -- or harem, perhaps -- of rock, trance, electronica, ambient groove, and Middle Eastern chant. This ambitious take on pop music succeeds better on some tracks than others. “Mantle” manages to balance the elements especially well. With a more subtle use of vocal effects than elsewhere on this release, the song showcases Matt Morris's considerable vocal talents. Here, his verses are unrushed, almost languorous; then the choruses explode into powerful rapid-fire delivery. He has a wide range of natural sounds available in his voice, from the quiet and mournful to the growling and shouting. One wonders why this steamy performance and dynamic song was buried as track number ten (of thirteen) instead of being placed front and center, and why effects were allowed to distract from his natural voice elsewhere.

With more of an emphasis on creating new sounds than conveying lyrical content, psomni's melodies are more like chants, and words are more like sensory experiments. At times these sounds become ponderous; on “The P is Silent,” an overdone chant quashes a compelling groove, and “CCC3”'s howling chorus feels heavy-handed and intrusive. But these are testament to the challenges of balancing such disparate musical traditions in a pop song; these are byproducts of musical adventurousness. “Ora E Sulmit,” for example, starts off like indie rock and ends like a Middle Eastern desert dance, while the eight-minute “Disconnect” features distorted horns and a Perry Farrell-like soaring chorus.

With some smoothing of its strident edges, psomni can develop its own extraordinary -- or extraterrestrial -- voice, one that is both compelling and challenging.
by Mary Byrne… Southeast Performer

Psomni – Mini malism
Location: Nashville, TN
Initial Impression: Honestly? How about WTF?!?!
Notable Lyric: You realize some of this is sung in Albanian, right??
Factoid: Psomni means "sacred song or poem" or "nothing, a doctrine based on nothing"
Serve With: Curry
Comments: They describe themselves as experimental for a reason. Utilizing synthesizers, horns and sitars to accent drum and bass rhythms, psomni produces a sound that is neither rock nor jazz, eastern nor western. After the first bewilderment wears off, Minimalism is a truly enjoyable venture into unexplored music horizons.
by Cristy… Score! Music Magazine