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SOMA PLANET

Eclectic Prog • Spain


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Soma Planet biography
SOMA PLANET is a band from Barcelona (Catalonia - Spain) formed in the mid 90s with an aim to pursue a trend of experimental rock and modern jazz in a clearly progressive framework. Main influences from the very early days are GONG, KING CRIMSON, EMBRYO, and later on, the Cantebury and krautrock scenes also are included in the band's spectrum. Founding members were Andreu "Tete" PÉREZ and Francesc GÓMEZ, with bassist Marc PRAT and drummer Ángel ABAD joining in by the end of the 90s. In the beginning of 2001, JORDÁ leaves the band to pursue his painting interests, so the band is momentarily reduced to a trio. By the time, the band already had a repertoire of their own on which they reflected their taste for unconventional structures and improvisations in an ever refreshing scheme. May 2001 finds SOM.PLANET doing an exciting gig at the Saló de Pedra (Council of Argentona), introducing keyboardist Marc TRULLÁS and sax/flute player Francesc "Furmi" GÓMEZ as newcomer members. Eventually, only the latter remained a steady member of SOMA.PLANET. Between 2002 and 2004, SOMA PLANET engages in a diverse series of activities, including gigs in prog events such as Magic Festival (Torredembarra) and Stratus Prog (Barcelona), and jazz events such as Girona's V Jazz Festival and Ciclo de jazz de l'Amistat (Premia del Mar, Barcelona).

In mid 2003, SOMA PLANET record their eponymous debut album, released independently that same year. The aforesaid album is a manifesto of the band's eclectic approach to experimental prog, blending the possibilities of contemporary jazz-rock, the bizarreness of psychedelia and the energy of avant-garde rock with solidness and proficiency. The inclusion of a number of guests on both traditional and modern instruments only adds to the eclectic fire turned on by the SOMA.PLANET compositions and arrangements. With the eventual entry of another guitarist, Manu CORBALÁN, the band's sound acquires an extra dose of dynamics, and so it becomes even more robust. Now, as a quintet, SOMA PLANET record their sophomore album "Bholenath", released by Musea Records in 2008. It would be fair to say that "Bholenath" has been received more positively than the already acclaimed debut album, which is a sign that SOMA PLANET have managed to make themselves more noticed in prog circles (as well as jazz-related Internet sources).




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BholenathBholenath
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Musea 2008
Audio CD$17.85
$9.99 (used)

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SOMA PLANET discography


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SOMA PLANET top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Soma.Planet
2003
4.00 | 14 ratings
Bholenath
2008

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SOMA PLANET Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bholenath by SOMA PLANET album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.00 | 14 ratings

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Bholenath
Soma Planet Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars Great melodic KING CRIMSON jazz rock fusion from Spain. The mostly-instrumental album has many dynamic ranges and interesting shifts and sound effect choices and subtleties within each song. Amazing diversity and always melodic! Jazz, folk, world, space/psychedelia, lots of KING CRIMSON and PINK FLOYD and even NEU! sounds--there's a little bit of everything here!

5 star songs: 1. "Psicorickshaw" (8:07) (9/10); 2. "Bholenath" (5:02) (9/10); 5. "Kali, Lament" (3:08) (10/10); 10. "Electrorain" (1:46) (9/10), and; 11. "Segments" (10:32) (9/10).

4 star songs: 3. "Meetings At Dawn" (1:36) (8/10); 4. "Kali, Destruccio" (5:11) (8/10); 6. "Abstract Passage" (1:25) (8/10); 7. "Tangle" (6:04) (7/10); 8. "My Being Forgets" (3:46) (8/10); 9. "Infinite Intuition - Recapturat" (8:16) (8/10), and; 12. "Diving Deep" (3:18) (8/10).

4.5 stars--definitely an excellent addition to any prog rocker's music collection.

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 Soma.Planet by SOMA PLANET album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Soma.Planet
Soma Planet Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A Catalan band from Mataro, Soma Planet were formed in mid-90'd by painter/singer Ivan Jorda and guitarist/singer Tete PĂ©rez.By the end of the 90's bassist Marc Prat and drummer Angel Abad join the band.Two years later Jorda quits and keyboardist Marc Trullas along with sax/flute player Francesc Furmi replace him.Only Furmi would make it in the long run and the band released indepedently the self-titled debut in 2003.The album features several guests on keyboards and traditional instruments as well as Ivan Jorda on vocals.

A quite intricate and eclectic effort,''Soma Planet'' swirl from Jazz-Rock and Fusion to complex prog and from Ethnic/Folk-Rock to Psychedelic Rock in a blink of an eye.It is an album full of different soundscapes, consisting from fully structured material to improvisational parts and from passages with almost theatrical vocals to long instrumental dissonances.To compare their sound as a mix of modern KING CRIMSON, WEATHER REPORT, MYTHOS and EMBRYO would not be very far from truth.The guitar work is very interesting with definite ROBERT FRIPP vibes and the bass lines are great as well.But it is the varied instrumentation and the changing intensity, which give the band this extra color.Obscure ethnic soundscapes full of flutes and saxes, jazzy parts again with sax but also piano on the forefront, modern psychedelic flourishes with fine guitars and a good amount of breaks and interplays offer series of interesting moments.Add to all these the nice keyboard work by the guests.Electric piano, synthesizers and some electronics making the band sound contemporary and even richer.The vocal parts are satisfying as well with a dramatic expressive touch, all sung in English.

Modern Psych meets folsky Jazz-Rock meets KING CRIMSONIAN Prog in this obscure listening.Most of the moments are more than just interesting and only some stretched abstract instrumentals spoil the listening a bit.An album definitely worth of investigation.

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 Bholenath by SOMA PLANET album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.00 | 14 ratings

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Bholenath
Soma Planet Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Spanish act Soma.Planet released a genuine prog gem for our contemporary times with their 2008's album "Bholenath". Spain had already nurtured some great prog material for the year 2008 via October Equus' "Charybdis" and Planeta Imaginario's "Biomasa", among others, and now it is my time to get acquainted (a bit late.) with Soma.Planet's sophomore venture. The band manages to improve on their already great debut album by building up a basic sound that emphasizes the original variety and focuses on a more powerful use of musical imagination in the compositional ideas. "Bholenath" is a massive joy of a listening experience, let me tell you that right now. The 8+ minute long opener 'Psicorickshaw' starts with an intro of familiar traffic sounds before the ensemble kicks off in a well-crafted display of jazz-prog that clearly inherits elements from Gong and National Health with some slight Zappaesque extra dynamics; not being a one-dimensional track, it also provides room for a slow psychedelic rock motif somewhere in the middle. Near the end, the track assumes some fusionesque airs that work very fluidly throughout the closing climax. The title track endures on the old fashioned psychedelic road, featuring a magical combination of prominent acoustic guitars and heavily cosmic synth deliveries, solidly kept on by a jazz-oriented work by the rhythm duo. 'Meetings At Dawn' is an effective atmospheric intro for 'Kali - Destrucció', one of the most incendiary pieces ever written by the Soma.Planet guys. The track's main body is an intrepid exercise on 73-75 King Crimson-meets- 72-74 Gong: the wild catchiness of the guitar's riffs and strummed chords meets a perfect foundation in the drum's tempo (mostly 7/8). The track slows down a bit for its middle section, but it is a resource for the re-elaboration of its basic impetus, all the way up until the reprise that makes the frantic coda. 'Kali- Lament' makes a much more languid statement by bringing out a mixture of Sigur Ros' melancholic vibe and krautrock-ish introspective ambiences. 'Abstract Passage' is, well, an abstract passage of weird guitar and sax effects laid on a monotonous set of tribal drumming, all items flowing together in a mysterious vein. The sequence of tracks 3-6 is really exciting, a masterful example of the band's favorite influences as well as sonic interests. 'Tangle' bears a mixture of 80s Crimsonian neurosis and rough stoner rock (like a brother of Psicotrópica or a cousin of Poseidótica): the complexity developed during the track's latter half is controlled enough as to not kill the raw energy that remains consistently driving the instrumental scheme. 'My Being Forgets' finds the band returning to their more relaxing side: with the clean acoustic guitar arpeggios, precise contrabass pounds, colorful percussions and soaring flute lines, things confidently flow through pastoral moods seated on a soft jazzy framework. It is a good thing that this track doesn't even get to the 4 minute mark, but it surely leaves you wanting more. It may be easy to notice some sort of tribute to the folkish side of Amon Düül II in this track. There is also a prominent role for acoustic guitars in 'Infinite Intuition', but it is the steel guitar that steals the limelight from the very moment that it gets in. Almost bordering on 70s country-rock for its 2 minutes, this piece eventually lifts off in order to explore the psychedelic side of things, although there is no contrast but a natural flow in the way that the arrangements are set. There is also some room for a Crimsonian jazzed-up jam revolving on an unusual signature, as it is usual in this band's repertoire. A brief synth solo gets in, providing an unsettling increase of the track's ever-growing punch. 'Electrorain' is the most vivid krautrocker in the album: stating a hybrid of Neu!'s visceral power and Faust's Dadaistic jolly in the shape of a short instrumental, Soma.Planet finds a way to instill a moment of ad colorfulness in the album's repertoire. During 10 ˝ minutes, 'Segments' turns out to be the most expanded segment in the album. Bringing more of that recurrent combination of King Crimson and Canterbury-oriented jazz-rock with a heavy twist and psychedelic overtones, the band stages a revamping strategy of the moods we have already found in tracks 4, 7 and 9. All in all, the result comprised in this track is a bit more majestic than usual regarding the hypnotic middle section. The sung section slows down things a bit, going for a more reflective mood without being really slow - for this portion, the band flirts patently with the standards of acid folk plus extra touches of post-"Takko" Sigur Ros. The album's closure 'Diving Deep' is an exercise on musique concrete that provides a moment of industrial unrest for the ending: it really is a contrast against the candidness that had been enhanced in the second half of 'Segments'. The bizarre aura of 'Diving Deep' signals the band's interest to revive the eclectic possibilities of psychedelic art-rock. As a whole, "Bholenath" incarnates the sort of excitement and creativeness that one keeps on expecting from good prog rock music at any stage of its history - since this one was made in the new millennium, it would be fair to point out that Soma.Planet is a solid hope for the present and future of prog.

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 Soma.Planet by SOMA PLANET album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.50 | 2 ratings

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Soma.Planet
Soma Planet Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Soma.Planet is one of the most prominent experimental rock bands to rise from the European continent in the new millennium. This Catalonian ensemble creates a solid, modernized approach to the heritages of old-fashioned space-rock, early Canterbury, heavy prog and standardized psychedelia. The album kicks off with the 12 minute long 'Be Yourself', a track fed with an extensive use of spacey atmospheres, not precisely relaxing, but bearing a constrained tension that is pertinently conveyed by the soaring instruments. The minutes go by and the bubble of tension never seems to burst, that is until the drum kit sets a languid pace for the track's development into a post-rocked ambience: the use of Far East ornaments is quite effective. 'Secret Triangle' feels like a Canterbury-style ballad retaken by a 70s psychedelic band: equally dense and eerie, this song states a disturbing flair. The last minute is devoted to an uptempo 7/8 coda, pre-Hillage Gong style. 'Action' is jazzy in the way that Colosseum and early KC jams were in the very late 60s; guest pianist Pedro Comago is vital for the track's development. 'Granada' finds the band leaning close to fusion, a job nicely done. 'Moments Before Tea' sates a pleasant jazz-rock dynamics, properly by another guest on electric piano. 'Kaleidoscope Visions' sounds like a mixture of rough post-rock and early VdGG, with some undertones that could easily remind us of alternative rock's standards. The jazz-rock scheme elaborated in 'Reaction' gets an additional spacey treatment; the Sigur Ros-related melancholy of 'Sunset' receives an added sophistication through the underlying acoustic guitar arpeggios and bolero-like drumming. Both tracks are short yet they display enough room for a pertinent development of the respective ideas - this band has an undeniable ability to manage colorful or grayish moods within not too extended confines. 'Cosmic Sector' sounds like a halfway construction between 'Secret Triangle' and 'Kaleidoscope Visions', albeit with a more muscular set of arrangements. This band is really in love with the use of ľ in downtempo songs. 'Songs of the Soul' is a lovely exploration of fusion-infected space-rock: its Arabic nuances and fluid dynamics make it sound, to a degree, like an old Hillage album's leftover mixed with a lost Embryo jam during the "Rocksession"-era. The album's last 11 minutes are occupied by 'Cerebrum', a proficient exhibition of prog-jazz that recaptures the musical dimensions of Gong, Soft Machine, VdGG and Boz-era King Crimson. The transitions between the various motifs and tempos are perfectly fluid; when a specific section is on teh run, the band knows how to take full advantage of it like a vibrating, well-oiled machinery. This splendid excursion serves as a bright climax that closes down the album with flying colors. well, given the circumstances in which a band as dense as this can provide a certain vividness of color to the music that they write and arrange. Albums like "Soma.Planet" are dreams come true for those avid lovers of old psychedelic progressive rock who just can't let go. This and more is what Soma.Planet offers to the prog-friendly contemporary years, with a pertinently modern attitude.

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