Though Moses Sumney’s extraordinary voice and unique sound have earnt him a solid fan-base and a good deal of support in the music industry over the past few years, his modest number of releases has left him relatively out of the spotlight. But recent collabs with the likes of Thundercat, Solange and Cinematic Orchestra, the release of Lamentations, and his upcoming debut LP are rapidly pushing Sumney into the limelight.
Sumney writes that Lamentations is made up of songs that didn’t fit the tone of the upcoming album – but this is by no means an EP of rejects. On the contrary, it may be one of the most beautiful, imaginative releases of the year.
Sumney’s music has an immediately dissociative effect. It seizes the senses, replacing them with those of some far-off ethereal place. The EP’s instrumental intro, ‘Ascension’, actually feels like immersion – dark waters simmer around the listener while guitar notes glance off cavern walls and ghostly voices echo out from hidden depths. Over the record’s five tracks, Sumney shifts through avant-folk, downtempo, synth-pop and choral – ignoring genre barriers as he builds his vast, intricate dream-world.
For me, the pearl of the album is the final track. ‘Incantation’ is a Yiddish recitation of Jewish prayer: the first line of the Kedushah and a night-time protection prayer. The song is stripped down to bare the full, raw beauty of Sumney’s voice. Harp-like guitar flickers in like a candle after the first prayer and low choral vocals follow, perfuming the sound as his voice twirls, dances, and eventually soars beyond reach.
If this is just a taster of what’s to come, we should all be very, very excited about Moses Sumney.