SOHN – Rennen Review 


SOHN is the stage name of London born and previously Vienna based producer Christopher Taylor. He is one of our most talented producers and musicians with Kwabs bringing him in to produce his brilliant debut album with Lana Del Rey and BANKS just a few others who have requested his services. Since basing himself in L.A, he’s produced a second album in Rennen which comes two years after his debut album Tremors and offers up a clear, yet natural progression to his sound. His strong debut and high demand will up the scrutiny as always, but a change of environment and events usually inspire something or has it only cemented his complacency? 

‘Signals’ is a spaced out and with resonant synth chords that chime gently across the track and its steady percussion. Chris’ vocals calmly sweep in to the setting with pitch shifted backing vocals providing a haunting backdrop. These gentle elements come to a colourful and bold fruition with greater volume and freedom from the initial arrangement into bursts of sound. ‘Conrad’ is a stylish and effortlessly delivered track which is now becoming the norm for SOHN. In many ways it is the archetypal SOHN track with buzzing, whirring electronica with heavy melodies stemming from them. With this single, however he reconfigures his sound with a prominent beat and a freer vocal performance which takes the main focus as opposed to the synth chords. It makes for a song with a greater connection, but a song that retains those cold waves of sound that are beautifully put together. Another strong track. ‘Hard Liquor’ is symbolic of Taylor maintaining the foundations of his sound, but with rougher edges and occasional fast pace forays. This single is symbolic of this adjustment with more prominent beats, scratching synths and a strong whirring sound set around a matured lyrical style. The transition from sparse and minimalist to rhythmic and hook laden is sudden, but smoothly in line with the raised vocals, thus isolating both atmospheres neatly. 

The title track is an echoing piano ballad with vocal rounds and this song seems to have triggered a wave of critics labelling the album a modern Blues record. I wouldn’t go that far, particularly with this track. It’s wistful extensions are the only thing that combines with the piano chords in this delicate track. ‘Dead Wrong’ offers up some well put together sampling and a smooth, buoyant beat. That is where the positives end however. For the rest of the album, whilst still of the same immaculate delivery, it just seems utterly lost and aimless. Almost experimental pieces that didn’t quite work. ‘Primary’, ‘Falling’ and ‘Still Water’ are particularly bad offenders in this case. He rations his already minimal sound and takes notes and tries to stretch them on for whole verses. The lyrics and their structure are messy and aimless too. What makes these tracks standout as being poor is the quality of the first half of the album in particular. Full of energy and suspense even in the more gentle and philosophical tracks. We can only speculate from here as to why there is such a marked difference. Perhaps they were older tracks and/or he didn’t have time to fully develop a full album of Signal’s or Conrad’s stature and that is a real shame as he’s clearly a talented artist.

SOHN – Rennen =7/10

Owen Riddle 

Single Review – SOHN – Hard Liqour 

Christopher Taylor has released the final single before the release of his projects second album Rennen as he looks to use his skill as a producer as he did with his debut. ‘Hard Liquor’ is symbolic of Taylor maintaining the foundations of his sound, but with rougher edges and occasional fast pace forays. This single is symbolic of this adjustment with more prominent beats, scratching synths and a strong whirring sound set around a matured lyrical style. The transition from sparse and minimalist to rhythmic and hook laden is sudden, but smoothly in line with the raised vocals, thus isolating both atmospheres neatly. Rennen is out tomorrow on January 13th. 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – SOHN – Conrad

Christopher Taylor a.k.a SOHN has announced the release of his second album Rennen which is expected on January 13th and now he’s released another single from the album with ‘Conrad’. The follow up to ‘Signal’ is in many ways the archetypal SOHN track with buzzing, whirring electronica with heavy melodies stemming from them. With this new single, however he reconfigures his sound with a prominent beat and a freer vocal performance which takes the main focus as opposed to the synth chords. It makes for a song a greater connection, but a song that retains those cold waves of sound that are beautifully put together. Another great track from an artist that deserves more recognition.

Owen Riddle

This Weeks Music Video with Beyoncé, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Bat For Lashes, SOHN and Pixies

Single Review – SOHN – Signals

SOHN is the stage name of London born and Vienna based producer Christopher Taylor. He is one of our most talented producers and musicians with Kwabs bringing him in to produce his brilliant debut album with Lana Del Rey and BANKS just a few others who have requested his services. His new single ‘Signals’ comes two years after his debut album Tremors and offers up a clear, yet natural progression to his sound. Spaced out and resonant synth chords chime gently across the track and its steady percussion. Chris’ vocals calmly sweep in to the setting with pitch shifted backing vocals providing a haunting backdrop. These gentle elements come to a colourful and bold fruition with greater volume and freedom from the initial arrangement into bursts of sound. It is a stylish and effortlessly delivered track which is now becoming the norm for SOHN.

Owen Riddle

Kwabs – Love + War Review

Kwabs is the stage name of Kwabena Adjepong from Central London. He’s already received much attention in the mainstream media of from the BBC and MTV, having a song featured on the FIFA 15 video game and becoming a Number One overnight sensation in parts of Mainland Europe. Superficial points aside, Kwabs’ moulding of the burgeoning Neo-Soul genre saw him produce a successful EP last year in collaboration with Vienna based producer SOHN. With his debut album Love + War, he’s teamed up with SOHN again as he looks to replicate his success and the acclaim he has garnered in places like Germany as one of the most promising British acts around… no pressure then.

With ‘Look Over Your Shoulder’ SOHN provides the sombre whirrs of electronica as his minimalistic approach brings out the wholesome and smooth quality of Kwabs’ baritone vocals. He also demonstrates his impressive, yet cool vocal range and variations without ever sounding like he’s made much of an effort and in this sense his vocal performance reflects off the instrumentation very effectively. This track is well instrumented and structured as it sends out that intricate, yet punchy rhythm and harmony behind the fluid foundation that is Kwabs’ vocal performance. ‘Layback’ is a more soulful and spaced out affair which features Kwabs isolated vocal reverberating and trembling in the verses and harmonising with the sweeping electronica of the chorus in a wave-like melody. Despite the power of the chorus and the detail of the verses, it still gives off the essence of a laid back and chilled track and that really is a credit to the production and to Kwabs’ effortless vocal ability from which a complex and smooth pop song has came into fruition. ‘Forgiven’ is a track of great strength and power via another immense vocal performance that runs in conjunction with a dramatic vocal instrumentation which basically drives the song with only subtle reverb and electronica being added. It’s a towering performance enhanced by a minimalist production and arrangement.

The album opens with the title track which opens as a heavy electronic affair with whirring and warping synths and flashing samples strung together by a blocky bass line before somehow falling away effortlessly and turning into a groove filled piece by the end of the verse. Again it goes on to fool you by the chorus as it slips effortlessly into a track made of heavy percussion with Kwabs vocals sailing through them. This goes on throughout what becomes a euphoric track and a heightened piece of pop music. Of course there is that hit track that shot him to the top of many of Europe’s charts and that is ‘Walk’. It is a track of consummate boldness and prominence from the apprehensive piano chords that launch the song into it’s churning and rumbling chorus which punches it’s way along as opposed to progressing peacefully. These parts drop off the face of the earth and the song is still carried on Kwabs’ vocal before launching back into the bold and uncompromising chorus. Nestled in amongst these big tracks are the simple string laden, piano ballads of ‘Perfect Ruin’ which simple and more graceful and whilst far from being the best track of the album, it offers up a more emotive quality and a sense of balance for the album. Those such as ‘Wrong or Right’ advance the notion of neo or alt-soul music in a positive light whilst those such as ‘My Own’ or ‘Make You Mine’ offer up some oddly placed moments of pop cheese and see’s Kwabs delivering Justin Timberlake-esque tracks. These are the only weaknesses of what is a more than promising debut from a genre smashing artist with one of the best vocal performances of the year. When is his next album out?

Kwabs – Love + War = 8.5/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Kwabs – Look Over Your Shoulder

Kwabs is the stage name of Kwabena Adjepong from Central London. He’s already received much attention in the mainstream media of from the BBC and MTV and having a song featured on the FIFA 15 video game. Superficial points aside, Kwabs’ moulding of the burgeoning Neo-Soul genre saw him produce a successful EP last year in collaboration with Vienna based producer SOHN. With his debut album Love + War set for a September 11th release, he’s teamed up with SOHN again for his new single ‘Look Over Your Shoulder’. SOHN provides the sombre whirrs of electronica and his minimalistic approach brings out the whole and smooth quality of Kwabs’ vocals. He also demonstrates his impressive, yet cool vocal range and variations without ever sounding like he’s made much of an effort and in this sense his vocal performance reflects off the instrumentation very effectively. Kwabs is certainly a rising British talent and he’ll only cement that status with an album as solid as this track.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995