Sohn – ‘Tremors’

Secretive producer's gently classical, dread-soaked debut

Vienna-based producer SOHN keeps a shadowy profile. Since he emerged in 2012 with breakout single ‘The Wheel’, personal details about the rising 4AD signing have been kept to a minimum. Even he seems unsure of his identity on debut album ‘Tremors’. “Somebody better let me know my name,” he sings on brooding ballad ‘Artifice’ like a man lost inside his own mysterious aura.

All 11 icy nocturnes here come soaked in dread, from the gently classical ‘Tempest’ to arresting piano anthem ‘Paralysed’. Away from the complex production, tracks like ‘Bloodflows’ show off SOHN’s gift for a disarmingly simple lyric. “My love, my love, my love don’t love me,” he croons over a beat James Blake would covet.

Not everything captivates, though. The lumbering ‘Ransom Notes’ struggles to kidnap your attention, and ‘Lights’ ambles along with its synth noises that go nowhere. In a recent NME interview, SOHN said his secret talent was being able to solve Rubik’s Cubes. Like those puzzles, ‘Tremors’ is frustrating. But when the colours align it’s alluring and impressive.

Al Horner