10 Sep 2021 - Pat O'
Post-Rock/Neoclassical/Instrumental | Release date: 26 Aug 2021
Neoclassical compositions shaded in dark and explosive swells give this “instrumental”, “post-rock” album that “must listen to” tag. Here is Non Somnia’s Stella Meae
There is no meaning to the word Non Somnia that I know of, but the two words together have a way of painting a picture of one being desperately jaded and in a state of numbness. That feeling of giving up the fight to stay alert and allowing yourself to drift off into a deep fathomless slumber. It could also however, spark the very opposite sensation, where you can’t get to sleep no matter how much your body cries out for it. That feeling of being drained of all energy but unable to disconnect from life’s tick and tock.
My research also informed me that Nonsomnia is a book of short stories by Maria Raven. Inspired by her dark imagination, she describe people’s nightmares, lucid dreaming, weird illusions and hallucinations. So however you approach this solos projects name, you can be sure that the album will not be a high intensity, blisteringly fast record, but more a haunting and deeply melancholic procession. Non Somnia’s Stella Meae is music you will concede and succumb to, allowing it to slowly, and ever so artfully, swallow you up in its neoclassical grandeur.
The opening track of this journey, “The Prelude” is exactly that. It’s a piano soaked introduction with orchestral strings creating an atmosphere of transcendency under a black and sinister shroud. What follows is the first full track, and the title track to the album. “Stella Meae” opens with a sombre drum beat partnered with heavyhearted violins that project melancholy and sorrow. As the piano gently plays, the tempo of the track slowly creeps and gathers its composure before opening up into a reverbed guitar riff thats dark, heavy and beautifully melodic. The atmosphere is pensive and morose as double bass drums kick up a storm while synths swirl and swarm as the violin continues to ache.
I love to read track titles because they can expose so much about the music before the first chord is ever strummed. “As I bury this knife in my body” does exactly that, and is one of my favourite titles of the year. The music and the emotion behind it grieves in self pity and sorrow. It takes the shape of a film score to a scene where a person is alone and at their lowest ebb. It’s dark and fated, just as it’s portrayed in a movie where you can’t take your eyes off the sense of inevitability. A spoken passage of “I feel Im just not enough”, along with the heartbreaking melody that’s laced in pianos and violins, brings the curtain down on a track that’s sure to strike a nerve with anyone who loves all things forlorn and emotive.
“The End Of The World”, “My Own Storm”, and “One Word Was Enough”, speak for themselves in terms of what these tracks represent. They slowly build and rise to great moments of drama and suspense as all hope is lost and destroyed. Thundering drums, reverbed guitars, violins and trumpets sound the death march, echoing the end of the world. Take for Instance, My Own Storm’s harrowing violin section. Great atmosphere is generated as the strings wail, the storm rumbles, and the rains fall. These three tracks together become story-like and will have you engrossed right to the very end.
Non Somnia have an incredible understanding of melody, drama and suspense. This is something that an artist needs to feel and experience to be able to put these emotions to music, and there is no shortage of that here. I would love to hear heavier and weightier percussions and drums on the next release, just to give the music greater depth, but that’s taking nothing away from what Non Somnia have produced on this album.
The Closing track “Unsung Heroes” is much more traditional, in a “post-rock”, sense. There is less piano and violin, and more reverbed guitars and crescendoed finales. The track opens with a gentle guitar playing against a church bell, all awash in synthesised atmospherics. The music gathers pace and power as the album’s final summit is climbed. One final push, and a rumbling bass guitar finally leads you to the mountain top where a great expanse awaits.
Stella Meae is a very impressive release, and is the third one from this Spanish solo artist. Like an over-excited truffle pig, I’m glad I sniffed this album out amongst the avalanche of music that is being released at the moment!. It’s an album that needs to be enjoyed in one’s own company and in full. It’s definitely worthy of a purchase on Bandcamp.