[sic] Magazine

Soft Temple – A Living Tradition

A record that succeeds in creating its own atmosphere in this day an age? Surely not, I hear you say! But it’s true, Soft Temple’s ‘A Living Tradition’ is one of the freshest sounding records I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in some time. Its author is English-based musician Sam Knight, but its content comes from much further a field. Knight recently confessed a deep love of the mysteries of nature.

“I aimed to create a really organic and free feel to the album” he told me. “I wanted to connect with the wilderness of the deserts across the entire Earth, with specific focus on Middle Eastern terrains”.

‘A Living Tradition’ runs like Knight’s spiritual pilgrimage across such evocative regions. He may not have been there in body but he was certainly there in mind as this album transports the listener to the arid, sparse landscapes of the Middle East from the word go. Using the free-flowing Blues scales of Avant-Rockers Grails and digitally manipulating sounds generated from acoustic instruments such as a guitar, cello and singing bowl, Knight pays tribute to the sand-blasted dunes, the molten haze, the burning winds and unforgiving sun that make these territories inhospitable.

Songs tease, stop-starting like the violent storms that prowl these vast, barren plains before gathering speed until the force is cruelly unrelenting. Hypnotic, harmonic tones coil and collide on the likes of ‘Twelve Grains of Sand’, a reference to the twelve deserts found in the Middle East, ‘حمادة’ and stunning penultimate track ‘Ruined Garden’, with the latter using silence, space and ambience as part of it weaponry, the effect is somewhat magnificent.

‘Aligning The Stars’ thunders into action from its original sedate state, much like a Buddhist mantra, with a jolt of sitar-like tones and deep-as-the-ocean cello rumbles, before imploding in a red sand haze of distortion. Not for a second does this record bore. Pace is injected via heart-beating thumps on tracks such as “Bare Feet Tread Parched Earth”, while the eerie, nocturnal atmospherics found on “Drought” simply soaks into your subconscious.

It’s hard to fault this album, it dares to be different. Its 50-plus minute experience is intensely gratifying and one can not help but be lost in its wondrous core. Each of the nine compositions drape across smouldering Middle Eastern Psychedelia and exotic, epic Drone, glowing with distinctive, uncanny hues. Monumental

NB: A digital copy of this record can be bought for £1