Sum Of R - Live at Roadburn


(band photo by Jeroen Muylle)

Witnessing Sum Of R live has even more depth than listening to their awesome records. Like any project gracefully and thunderously ignited by bass-guitar-wizard Reto Mäder, the now-trio has developed a certain signature sound that is literally flowing and floating between Drone, Doom, Ambient and even Sludge – adding the live component this whole thing becomes what the (overused but here completely rightfully so) term ritual indicates: a moment of letting go for everyone in attendance. Most importantly, people in the audience should let go off any limitation of time and personal expectation, because even though you can be familiar with the band’s oeuvre, their live concerts are something very different. And that can soon be witnessed on the main stage of Europe’s best festival: Roadburn.

This announcement serves multiple purposes: First of all, to make sure everybody knows that this upcoming spring you can see for yourself how good the new incarnation of Sum Of R is, if you have not caught them live on tour with Insect Ark this fall. The band is now a trio – Reto on bass and Jukka Rämänen on drums and Marko Neuman on synths and delivering his vocals from heaven and hell; the latter two also being a part of Dark Buddha Rising and various other outfits. The way all three work together is simply mesmerizing, especially Marko’s vocals cannot be overestimated because he might be one of the few singers in our beloved realm of musical outsiders with a really angelic clean vocal range and a chance of giving you some of most ear-crushing growls ever heard. The transformational process that Sum of R went through during the pandemic’s lockdown is breathtaking as it takes nothing away from the project’s hypnotic trademarks but adds Jukka’s precision and force within the tornadoes and Marko’s voice as the one, sole candle leading us through it. You can have a peak at Sum Of R’s mind-thrilling magnificence by checking out the video for ”Hymn For The Formless” filmed during a live session at DAFT Studios in Malmedy (Eastern Belgium) after their highly acclaimed performance at this year’s 24 Hours of Deep Listening event in Ghent organized by Consouling Sounds. The label will also release their upcoming album at the beginning of 2022, from which the song itself is taken – so the video also shows the new “Sum of R” and a song off “the new Sum of R”!

The second purpose already disclaimed above is nothing short of a deserved spot on Roadburn’s main stage in April. Sum of R had been scheduled to play at Roadburn in 2020 and for reasons of postponements (all known and despised by all of us) they will now return to Tilburg four years after their last performance at the festival that year by year re-defines what is heavy and what is not. Surely, Sum Of R is one of the bands that fit to Roadburn like a match made in music heaven because yes, they are heavy, but they never try to “out-muscle” anybody. And at the same time they are also miraculously melodic which – in this new incarnation – might be even clearer than before. Thus, if you are going to in Tilburg on the third weekend of April 2022 – you should not miss their performance at the main stage in 013 as the heavy, dark sounds will embrace you and pull you out of time and place as only good music can do. Music that is meaningful but open to interpretation. That is clear but not overwhelming you with cut-out messages – for Sum Of R deliver a platform for your own journey through which you will arrive at your own understanding of this Swiss-Finnish trio.

For more information on the line-up of next year’s installment of the best festival in Europe (beat me!) visit Sum of R will perform Lahbryce in its entirety on the main stage at 013 on April 22nd, 2022.

The third and most minute disclaimer is to follow VeilofSound closely, because at some point between Christmas and New Year’s there will be a large story about Reto, his music, his various projects and – a buyer’s guide. Which records should you listen to if ”Hymn For The Formless” is your first encounter with him and his music? And of course, we will also give you another idea of what to expect from Sum of R’s upcoming album Lahbryce which we already had the pleasure of listening to; be assured, it’s reeaaaallyy good!