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Sontaag: Sontaag
Sontaag 2014 Debut Album CD Album Review

Sontaag: Sontaag

Melodic/Progressive/Space Rock
4.0/5.0

Sontaag is a bit of a mystery. The information that I've found comes entirely from their page on their label's website (link above). There we discover that Sontaag is the namesake of Richard Sontaag (composition, instruments, concept, co-production) and Ian Fortnam (story, lyrics, voice, concept). However, I've not been able to find any information on either artist. Perhaps they don't exist, and this debut album is actually a hoax perpetrated by some evil alien conglomeration. Wait, there's a picture of them in the CD booklet (see below). Aliens do exist! It's not a conspiracy!

Sontaag Band Photo

Sontaag:: spaced out.

I say alien because the album concept has a sci-fi theme and a large space rock motif reminding of Hawkwind (but sounding better without all those swirling synths they use). Again, from the label's website, here's the idea behind album:

The Ancients, through a long process of trial and error, had discovered the secret of synthesizing essential energy from harmonic sound, giving them the power to reanimate extinct planets by utilizing giant orbiting sonic generators. But life came at a price. The newly supplanted inhabitants of MP-5 were compelled to provide the musical fuel for The Great Harmodulator simply to stay alive.

Makes perfect sense. Much of the story is spelled out for the listener in spoken narration throughout the album. After hearing, I wrote in my listening notes, 'too much talking on album.' This is only to say it was merely a distraction and I wasn't sure how actually did add or clarify the concept. After this comes the music which seems like a mash up of late Sixties and early Seventies seminal space rock with 50's Forbidden Planet style sci-fi movie soundtrack and Eighties snooty English new wave attitude.

Sontaag, for his part, definitely has a handle on the psychedelic space rock sound, but also energizes the album with his flashy Floydish like guitar leads. Both of these components, composition and sharp guitar playing, are highlights of the album. Both Fortnam's spoken voice and singing have a distinct British timbre to them. While not being a 'punk' vocalist, it reminded me of how the early English punk bands kept their accent when singing, when often it disappears. Anyway, there you have it. I think I gave you little to zero clarity in this review. Nevertheless, I did like the album, but I can't imagine jumping off my shelf on a regular basis. Listen to the trailer below, and I think you'll like what you hear. Recommended.


Sontaag - Trailer





CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

Sontaag is like a mash up of late Sixties and early Seventies seminal space rock, with 50's Forbidden Planet style sci-fi movie soundtrack and Eighties snooty English new wave attitude. Recommended.

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