Brooklyn’s Sontag Shogun supported Haushka at Le Poisson Rouge in 2015 and the 6 tracks they played through have now been bounced down to cassette for release. Their sound is interesting, grounded in melodic piano with all sorts of tapes / objects / electronics colouring the atmosphere. Full studio versions to be released later this year. so its a sneaky look at ideas that are now fully formed. 2015, NYC is self-released by the band.
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- 2015, NYC by Sontag Shogun
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Hm. I’m acutely aware that I might be listening to something good. This might be a problem; I’ve been lying about bad music so long that I’ve forgotten how to tell the truth about the good stuff. Let’s just agree that I’m not double-bluffing and talk about the beauty codified into the music of ‘2015, nyc’, the newest tape by Sontag Shogun. This group are field dreamers trapped in the world of neo-classical, having to pore over piano notes when they’d rather be out with the hissing insects of the world. In the end, they collate both soundworlds together into a new one, as if wasps might flit about you and your stool while you endeavour to find the right chord.
This improvisation always feels light, taking on the force of post-rock and cleanly dusting it off. Even in the storm that’s captured to close out that first track, there’s a dampening of the sound, an attempt to keep the feel protective, guarded from what actually went down. “Plagues” is a band pantomime piece that brings its climax about with gorgeous clarity, a rolling piano motif sounding halfway towards CFCF as acoustic percussion emphasises and flourishes around subliminal vocal harmonies. It’s so gorgeous -- that’s a word I’ve used precisely 198 times in my time writing reviews at Norman, but believe you me I’ve never meant it more. This kind of pulsating rhythmic bliss -- where there’s drama and unease but a strange chillness to it too -- is gonna have the Dawn of Midi fans looking to move into a cottage near it.
Like, you know this was live, right? What kinda band just pulls this shit off without a thought? This is a touching, sentimental and unabashed approach to ambient songcraft. I listen to "Yoshimi Was a Good Cat" and realise I’ve always thought Explosions In The Sky could have a little bit more Lawrence English, a bit of Julianna Barwick, a scraping of Eels and a grand finale of Coldplay in their sound. Sontag Shogun seem to be the only people in the world who agree with me.
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