My Sleeping Karma: Soma

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My Sleeping Karma: Soma
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My Sleeping Karma: Soma
Progressive Rock, Psychadelic Rock
Napalm Records
October 9th, 2012
Release length: 55:02
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My Sleeping Karma hails from Aschaffenburg, Germany, and is a side project involing members of the band The Great Escape. Born in 2005, they issued three full-length albums over the time to come. Since issuing their debut self-titled album in 2006, they have continued to impress fans of the Progressive/Psychadelic Rock styles with every recording. Two years after their previous outing, Tri, the band signed with Napalm Records to release their fourth opus, Soma, for a late 2012 window. Will this be the recording to put this instrumental act on the map, or is it an effort that won’t live up to the additional exposure their new home provides them?

Soma isn’t too heavy an album to begin with, so it works out that the audio quality is rather crisp. The bass stands out the most, being rather deep without going too overboard in depth or volume. It caters to the Rock sound well, working with the often deserted or astral riffs and atmosphere of the largely clean electric guitar well through the course of each song. In the background, you have various Space Rock effects that seem to come from a keyboard. While pivotol, it’s clear they are meant to listerally be more of an after thought despite how well they grab your attention upon listening to any song. The drums come through quite pristine, especially with the cymbals that end up filling the music nicely while matching the volume level of the snares, which are a little lighter despite the tighter snap they can give off. The bass kicks also wind up with a deeper sound, and a click that is more on the subtle side to help maintain the often soothing atmosphere of the performances.

And that’s one thing this recording really has going for it: Soothing performances, and well executed ones at that. Many of the songs that are not “Interlude” tracks go on for quite a while, pushing towards the nine minute mark, such as the first track, “Pachyclada.” This acts as a superb introduction to what lies ahead. The slower tempo is met with some Psychadelic riffs with a bit of a Middle Eastern, even Egyptian sounding environment, meshed with a bit of a Space Rock influence that lies in the background. The lighter nature works throughout the song, even in some of the passages that have a tighter performance with a little more edge to the material. These often seem to be the chorus, as well as some darker bridges with leads that are a bit on the disturbed and heavier side. But, even that isn’t enough to kill the relaxing sound that lets you close your eyes and be swept up in the music. “Eleusine Coracana” is a little deeper and heavier overall, not really catering to that aforementioned geographical atmosphere, nor the ability to sit back and get lost within the music. Sure, some of the lead chords are soothing, but this darker offering is a bit of a different beast that can catch you off guard. There’s a heavier focus on the cymbals driving it forward, and the chords do tear through a little harder in many spots. The main verses still have a lighter sound, though a bit more twangy. It isn’t that it’s a bad song, it just largely feels out of place, making it hard to keep your yin and yang in balance the entire seven-and-a-half plus minutes.

For the most part, the “Interlude” tracks act as an ambient bridging to help set the tone of the next song, or to keep something from the previous one alive. For example, the first “Interlude” you come across is mostly rain falling to the ground, which bleeds nicely into “Ephedra.” The song itself is a little faster, but the near liquid-like lead chords and astral effects in the background create a sound that is just as soothing, even during the chorus when the music will sweep you off your metaphysical feet and carry you away with it. Of course, there’s enough of a catchy rhythm, and even some edgier moments like “Pachyclada” that will have you bobbing your head along through most, if not all of the song. Then there’s the “Interlude” after “Eleusine Coracana.” A nice, soothing bass performance fills the forefront while birds continue to chirp in the back, a large contrast to the previously darker offering that seamlessly shifts into the sunnier approach. The birds eventually fade out, and a soft roaring sound emanates through as if up in the sky. This signals the start of “Saumya” with an acoustic piece that eventually builds into a self-empowering composition that treads a bit on the side of epic thanks to the Space Rock elements that can become the main focus this time around thanks to how powerful and loud they are. One thing to take note of with this track is that it’s a little on the colder side here and there, not giving off the warm and pleasant sensations that others before and after it give off, but still something to kick back and enjoy.

With the only exception to the soothing nature of Soma being the song “Eleusine Coracana,” it’s impossible to say this album is anything but a solid offering. My Sleeping Karma has put together an atmospherically charged album that blends Psychadelic and Space Rock ideas perfectly in a very Progressive manner. The soothing nature of the music can really relax the listener, causing him or her to just lay back and get swept up in the many environments that this release offers. If you haven’t heard the potential that is My Sleeping Karma yet, then Soma should definitely be at the top of your list to check out, as well as better acquaint yourself with the band. Your zen will thank you for putting in the roughly fifty-five minute experience.

01. Pachyclada – 8:44
02. Interlude – 1:37
03. Ephedra – 7:11
04. Interlude – 2:31
05. Eleusine Coracana – 7:38
06. Interlude – 2:09
07. Saumya – 6:48
08. Interlude – 1:15
09. Somalatha – 6:52
10. Interlude – 2:15
11. Psilocybe – 8:02
Overall Score: 9/10
My Sleeping Karma (band)
My Sleeping Karma
Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.