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Moses Sumney’s aromatic soul


DÉLICATESSE (French): quality of what distinguishes itself by its finesse, its lightness, its graceful aspect. We’re right there, right in the heart of it. And even more so, as beyond those lethargic effects, beyond the comatic effluvium, Moses Sumney unfolds a bed of unequalled scents where the sounds appear to follow the course of pollen, the birth of a flower, the pollination of a body of work. Musical perfume. “Aromanticism” is the soul-folk flavour of the moment.

Since stepping out of the shadows in 2014, Moses has moved up the ladder, rather quickly, but carefully: a tidal wave of applause, quiet recordings and live representations. An organic ascension of some sorts, too rare to be missed in the current musical climate. Just like Benjamin Clementine, or Benjamin Booker and Sampha, Sumney transforms the classical genres (jazz, soul, R’n’B) by connecting them to other hybrid forms – surprizing and spectral arrangements about dreams and love. As a good old romantic, in a way, he looks to question the social constructs around romance, and frees its torments in this sumptuous record.

Between Ghana, his parents’ birth country, and the California of today, in this American tumult where the stars number in the thousands, Sumney hangs on tight in his ascension by reshaping on a larger scale what he had already produced in 2016 in his “Lamentations” EP. Magical structures – to say the least. Gleaming, infantile, and innocent compositions that recall Sufjan Stevens’ sonorous farandoles, and James Vincent McMorrow’s “Post Tropical” when it comes to the singing voice. Sumney’s, bewitching and mellifluous, is just like the sweet blend of honey and lemon. Sweet and sour, it meanders through the album’s most beautiful tracks, “Plastic” and “Quarrel”, also the most revealing of the world depicted by Sumney.

An evasive declaration to the softness of romanticism and its dissimulated passions, an ode to introspective soul, “Aromanticism” portrays the aromas of a kind of music, a remedy to exacerbated and blaring music in which sonorous opprobrium and deliquescence reign. Intentional, serene and conscious of his servitude to the art he loves so much, Moses Sumney, and thankfully so many others, are all a part of the majestic court of the new scene’s enlightened souls, the one that can leave you all at once empty and bursting with life.

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