Jesse Somfay: The Nectar of My Love

Jesse Somfay: We Breathe the Stars Through Each Other

Illustrating just how much the global electronic network casts its web ever more widely with each passing day, consider Jesse Somfay. Not only are The Nectar of My Love and We Breathe the Stars through Each Other but two of an ever-growing list of releases dotting Somfay's discography, but the label on which they're released, Cologne-based Traum Schallplatten, is about as geographically removed from the nineteen-year-old's Elora, Ontario home base as one could possibly imagine. How remarkable—and wonderful—it is that such unions are now so commonplace.

Ultimately, of course, musing upon such trivia may be interesting but Somfay's story would amount to little if the releases themselves didn't hold up—which these most assuredly do. The material is startlingly mature for one so young; in place of repetitive techno grooves, Somfay deftly shuffles layers and textures like a seasoned Casino dealer. Interestingly, the two releases' moods dramatically differ: while The Nectar of My Love is restrained and delicately chilled, the significantly more panoramic cuts on We Breathe the Stars through Each Other up the dark and dramatic ante considerably.

Opening the earlier disc, “Asinea Nectar” percolates dreamily, especially when a soft organ-like melody floats alone over its driving bass lines; at the same time, the languid vibe is offset by a mechano pulse with the two overlaid by bright flares and bubbly textures. “In The Open at Night” drapes an acid blanket and pleading synth line over a sleepy rattlesnake pulse while the gentle dub-shuffle “One Pink Dime Takes Me Away” travels through outer orbits filled with sweeping starbursts and crackling detonations.

Two twelve-minute epics comprise We Breathe the Stars through Each Other. Awakening with a wiry tick-tock pulse, “This Fragile Addiction” spotlights shuddering guitar ambiance before morphing into surging acid-trance that, by its end, leaves you feeling as if you've just pulled your battered body from a dizzying amusement park ride. “For One Brief Moment, I Was There” jacks boldly into the upper stratospheres, anchored by a relentlessly repeating bass motif. At first, the detail seems a weakness but subsequent listenings suggest that its repetitiveness reinforces the tune's entropic feel; like a doctor monitoring a dying patient's slow breathing until death's arrival, one is so captivated by the slow expiration of Somfay's piece, it proves impossible to look away. Props to Somfay for taking the road less traveled on these markedly contrasting yet memorable Traum outings.

February 2006