Rennen is the latest offering from Vienna based producer SOHN, his return since his debut album Tremors was released in 2014. Rennen is a compilation of ten electronic tracks proving that less is most definitely more. Reminiscent of acts like London Grammer and James Blake, SOHN gently guides the listener through these ten ethereal tracks by creating gentle dynamics throughout.
SOHN couples soft, airy vocals with percussive drum beats and catchy instrumental hooks to create an album of meditative, easy listening electronica.
What stands out, upon the first listen, is the simplicity in the songwriting and how SOHN adds layers to build a simple idea into something larger, more complex, each song a gradual crescendo into a fuller sound. The listener is gently guided from track to track with sublime synth sounds and electronic beats.
Beats and percussion are an integral part of the overall sound on this album, with songs like ‘Hard Liquor’ and ’Falling’ being based around simple yet abstract drum beats.
Opening track, ’Hard Liquor’, is best described as a modernised electronic blues track because of the driving rhythm and lyrical style. It provides a dramatic introduction that gradually intensifies as it reaches the chorus with the layering of vocals and synths.
‘Primary’ reflects a Bon Iver/Justin Vernon influence with the use of vocal effects that compliment SOHN’s falsetto and the folk inspired melody. The song then transcends into an instrumental section with a percussive drum beat and layering up of synths.
Title track ’Rennen’ stands out with a simple yet catchy piano hook and soft lead vocals. The backing vocals repeating the main line subtly adds to the overall empyreal atmosphere of the song.
The second half of the album continues with ‘Fallying.’ This upbeat track stands out as an example of how SOHN’s sound is built around beats and percussion, the repetition in the vocal and the incessant beat remaining true to the EDM genre.
The album concludes with ’Harbour.’ This track begins with an a capella, almost chant-like vocal. The listener could expect a beautiful unaccompanied vocal track as an outro, but this piece slowly builds, layer by layer, to an awesome upbeat finale.