On the latest release from Seattle’s SOMAFREE INSTITUTE, the heavy synth trio lays out a cosmic space epic in EP form. Seek Sound Shelter sees the trio, which consists of Andrew Crawshaw, Tim Call, and Justin Thomas Kleine, building a sonic bridge which spans across decades of progressive electronic music. Touches of Klaus Schulze, Zombi, and even Sinoia Caves come thru over the course of five expansive tracks. It ranges from hard hitting electro struts to free form cosmic drifts, and it all adds up to an epic sonic trip.
One of the key ingredients that separates SOMAFREE INSTITUTE from other heavy synth projects is Tim Call’s live drums. Giving the project an actual human beating heart in the form of live drums adds that organic dimension that distinguishes this project from other synth heavy electronic bands. Think of bands like Zombi, Trans Am, and Tangerine Dream albums like Exit and Le Parc, as these are the vibes being channeled here.
There’s an overall cinematic feel on Seek Sound Shelter, from the ambient overtones of “Breach In The Hull” to the big grooves of “Attribution Error” to the prog rock vibes of the title track, SOMAFREE INSTITUTE make the most of their time here. It may be an EP, but it’s an epic EP. I could imagine these songs playing in some classic early 80s sci-fi, but not the usual suspects. I could see it playing over something like Outland from ’81, or even something like the classic Roy Scheider flick Blue Thunder. Of course I’d love to see what The Terminator would feel like with Seek Sound Shelter playing over it(no offense, Brad Fiedel.)
“Beta Testing Program” goes for an almost rock strut as Crawshaw and Kleine build this layer of chromed-out synth sheen while Tim Call sets a solid percussive foundation. I get Zombi Escape Velocity vibes here. The dystopian haze of “Isolation” closes the album out with cosmic touches and a sense of urgency.
SOMAFREE INSTITUTE have been building and honing their sound since Vertical Helix Scan, which was prior to our own dystopian nightmare called 2020. Seek Sound Shelter sees the trio locked in tight and making precision synth prog of the highest order.
‘Seek Sound Shelter’ drops on 10/7 via SFI Recordings. Preorder it here.