I heard sogumm through a few features here and there, but didn’t realize she was a Balming Tiger member. I think the group has gone through some changes as the main person I’ve seen in their videos isn’t featured as much anymore. I’ve listened to Sobrightttttttt on and off without making a more concrete connection until her feature with OnStage where she performed “Frog.”
While her album was more background music for me before, I started taking a deeper listen and realized that sogumm is a great vocalist who is very deliberate with every beat, note, and rhythm.
When you listen to the 12 song album through the first time, you get a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and electronic styles all mixed together. On the second playthrough, you start to hear how sogumm plays with melodies and tempo. It’s really interesting because sometimes it sounds like she’s off-key, offbeat, and generally just floating around the tracks.
But listening more closely, she’s deliberately sitting on the back of the beat. It’s so close that it sounds like she’s late a lot of the time. In her melodies, I can’t always tell if she’s hitting the right notes or sweeping over them without some strong abandon. The majority of the songs on Sobrightttttttt are really addictive. By using slower tempos, sparse instrumentation, but with sustained melodies over the verse, she’s able to fill up each beat with the bare minimum.
“Dance!” is a good example of this. It sounds like a gathering of random sounds that piece together a beat and melody. sogumm’s vocals follow the verse and then kind of jump in and out as she wants. It’s also with this use of slow tempo that she’s able to extend the presence of her songs. 12 songs and 26 minutes is generally short, but each track has it’s own tone and theme.
“More Love” and “Stand alone” are the best examples of simplicity that still present some deep instrumentation. “Kimchisoup” is my favorite song, but honestly, I’m not sure why. It just has all the best elements of the tracks in the same place.
I’ve become a big fan of Balming Tiger and now have spent a lot of time listening to tracks by individual members, both solo work and feature tracks. I have to say, within the hip-hop and R&B genres, Balming Tiger members are even more indie than I thought possible.
sogumm is an excellent example of how the definition of a genre is all in the hands of the artist.