Vienna-based artist SOHN is at the forefront of a wave of new bands that are defining how indie-electronic music is played live.
His performance at The Casbah on Sunday featured absolutely none of the typically electronic-music associated, mysterious button pushing, ‘hot-knob’ twisting, or fader slamming. The silky smooth vocals and synth heavy electronic beats that you were promised on his brand new debut record Tremors are exactly what you get at his show – but it’s all recontextualizing itself live, in front of your very eyes.
Flanked by the talented Albin Janoska on the synths and Stefan Fallman on bass, Christopher Taylor aka SOHN absolutely threw it down with the keys and vocals Sunday night to a sold out crowd. His powerful yet delicately vulnerable singing was just flowing with dark and passionate vibes. He hit the crowd right in the feels, barely letting up at all – even for a “how are we doing San Diego?!”. Janoska’s whaling synth keyboard solos could give any modern day guitar shredder a run for their money, yet it surprisingly melded together beautifully within the context of this PBR&B, as Pitchfork affectionately describes it.
And if you weren’t already mesmerized by the talents of the performers jamming out in front of you, the light show they packed onto the tiny Casbah stage sealed the deal. Long neon tube lights surrounded the trio and pulsed and throbbed to the groove, and then totally bugged out at the drop on epic songs like Bloodflows.
If more indie-electronic acts could take a page out of SOHN’s book and put aside the laptops and ‘hot-buttons’ in favor of real musicianship then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about slipping into a scary dystopic future dominated by overpaid DJs and talentless laptop performers. But for now there is still a ray of hope for real electronic music performers out there, and SOHN is at the vanguard.
By: David Lopez de Arenosa