Progressive Electronic: Noah Cohn

A review of Noah Cohn - Cold as Midnight Noah Cohn’s sixth album, Cold As Midnight, is a conglomeration of electronica, ambient, house and cinematic styles.
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* Review by Michael Morgan

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March 22, 2011 - PRLog -- Aficionados of computer music will really appreciate the well-crafted arrangements and thorough attention to detail. No synth sound goes unnoticed on Cold As Midnight, as Noah uses generous portions of various emotive synth sounds across all 13 tracks.

The dreamscapes and videogame blips and bleeps of album-titled “Cold As Midnight” form an orchestral mural throughout the song. Mr. Cohn also shows some real artistic discipline mixing in a classical piano sound to add some distinctiveness for what is a primarily electronic ambient-laden album. The whiny-whooshey mind-bending moans and bass warbles of album-closer “Chamado a R’tyeh” are the centrepiece of the song. It is only after some time that the percussive handclaps come alive. The last part of the song ends in a dramatic panic of synth whales á la Phoenix’s “1901”.

"Der Thron von Azathoth" trades this artistic discipline for a set of scratchy and rigid tire-tearing synths that could sonically scratch up any good pair of headphones. The monotonous, hypnotic and hollow sound is a lesson in house and acid music. Similar to album-opener “Chamado a R’tyeh,” the tempo evolves with a series of claps and then also adds some sitar-like sonics in an almost stirring brew of controlled cacophony. "Die Baumkronen Singen" has the same frisky layers as "Der Thron von Azathoth" except it adds a hyper set of brassy synths and delicate whisper-swooshes, acting like prophetic tempo-busters. "Die Baumkronen Singen" is equally experimental but doesn't stray too far from the song’s themes and storylines.

"Fields of Silver" alters the soundscape dramatically, taking the listener into a fantastical world, with a fusion of videogame-esque sound-scapades and a lovely set of orchestral flourishes, aligned with the thematic synths from earlier tracks on the album. “Fields of Silver” has an optimistic melody that would resonate well in adventure movies. Another theatre-pleaser is "Whispers in the Well." Its fast-paced set of skittish scratching textured sounds, filled with dramatic changes in melody and tempo jets off like a firestorm of sonic fury. Its ambient primal tones would make for great action/adventure movie scenes. One can picture “Whispers….” being played during a James Bond skiing scene where the spy is chased by a bunch of KGB agents. Halfway through the song there is a little bridge in a kind of child-like melody that flutters. It’s the song’s ephiphanic moment. As the percussion picks up again without hesitation, so do the synth scratches and wallops. This song is filled with a potful of dynamics and interesting licks that any fan of ambient electronica would enjoy.

Less cinematic than “Whispers…” but more festive is "Licht in der Erde." The techno-inspired rhythm and melody has multiple layers of keys cascading and colliding in a virtual mashup. “Licht in der Erde” is destined to be a fan favorite for those enthralled with ambient dance mashups. "Sinta a Chuva" slows the tempo down to lullabye speed and includes a series of illuminating keyboard flourishes and waves along with a deep somber viola sound. It’s a lovely deviation from the mostly aggressive, mathematical orchestrations calculated on the majority of the album.

If listeners think that “Sinta…” is a sign of slower numbers to follow on the album, then think again. "Snowflake in the Stars" starts off with a series of disjointed waves and bleeps. The storm of synths collide into a montage of hypnotic gyrations building slowly through the 4 minute track. “Sinta…” is also highlighted by a big repetitive bass backbeat slighted by violinic and string synths. The song ends in a cinematic classic piano progression accompanied by an elevating set of hollow beeps and bleeps. "At Home in Bed"'s cozy strings and sleepy tempo is more new age and neoclassical than the other songs. The incessant reverb keeps the violins tempered in a volleying echo. The beautiful acoustic guitar towards the end of the song could have added more flair to earlier portions of the song. This track lacked the depth and layers of earlier tracks on Cold As Midnight.

“Entropie in der Leere” has a lo-fi set of flutes playing throughout along with a faded drumbeat. The haziness is cleared out by a set of laser-like wobbly synths in a repetitive stitch of staccato notes. It also revives the video game-like bleeps from earlier tracks. “Hymn to the Deep Ones” like the previous track has a lo-fi vibe but casts a darker atmospheric intro followed up by quick high-pitched synth volleys that eventually lead into a set of Gregorian-like chants. Another stand out track, “Moon Waves,” lights up the album with its wistful melodies and dreamy synth wobbles.

Listeners who enjoy this well-produced and colourfully arranged album will probably want check out the artist’s earlier works.

A review of Noah Cohn - Cold as Midnight
Review by Michael Morgan
Genre:  Progressive Electronic
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Tags:Progressive Electronic, Noah Cohn, Review by Michael Morgan
Industry:Music, Entertainment
Location:United States
Page Updated Last on: Mar 22, 2011 News
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