SUM OF R
SUM OF R (SUI/FIN)
Avant-garde metal, Drone rock, Psychedelic kraut doom
Every story has a beginning, no matter how unlikely. And the story of the new incarnation of Sum Of R, the project that Reto Mäder formed in 2007 and has led as the only fixed member ever since, began with some really good news, and then some really bad news, because you never know where magic is going to come from. 2020, remember that? Before the world went weird, Sum Of R were supposed to tour (remember that, too?), a trek which included a much distinguished Roadburn appearance. The line-up for the tour was already set to be a duo, with Reto joining forces with drummer Jukka Rämänen, known for his presence in such luminaries of the groundbreaking Finnish psych scene as Dark Buddha Rising, Atomikylä or the supergroup Waste Of Space Orchestra (Oranssi Pazuzu & Dark Buddha Rising), not to mention Hexvessel and Dust Mountain. A power duo, in the true sense of the word. Because Roadburn is special, Reto thought about having a guest singer for that particular performance, and once you already have a connection established with the mighty Dark Buddha Rising – a connection first established on the joint Dark Buddha Rising / Sum Of R tour of 2018, by the way –, why look further? Enter vocalist Marko Neuman (also of Convocation and, naturally, the all-consuming Waste Of Space Orchestra), who would make them a remarkable and unlikely trio just for that evening.
Then, as we know, the world changed, and both the tour and Roadburn itself didn’t happen. In one of the best examples of there being a silver lining to almost every bad situation, Reto tried to make something positive of the situation and booked the first possible flight after the first lockdown in his native Switzerland to travel to Finland for three weeks of studio recording with the line-up that never was, Jukka and Marko. And boom: magic happened. As Reto puts it, “we had such a good and intense as wellas grateful and creative time together that it could not be more natural that Marko alsobecame a part of Sum Of R through these common experiences. For Jukka and me, Marko's voice is like a transmitter to another dimension."
So, meet Sum Of R in 2021 and beyond – Reto Mäder (bassguitar, drones, synth, effects), Marko Neuman (vocals, synth) & Jukka Rämänen (drums, percussion).
The result of these three wandering spirits being let loose in a converted barn in the Finnish countryside near Jyväskylä is ‘Lahbryce’, the new and surprising Sum Of R album, the most disconcerting and colossal work the band has ever committed to tape by far. Mixed by Victor Bullok, aka V. Santura (Triptykon, Dark Fortress), it will be released this late fall on the Belgium record label Consouling Sounds and it will turn the underground upside down.
So, good news, bad news, and then good news again. Good news is winning. And just you wait until you hear the album.
Text written by José Carlos Santos
Reto Mäder: Bassguitar, drones, synth, effects
Jukka Rämänen: Drums, percussion, sounds
Marko Neuman: Vocals, synth, noise
- Sum Of R “Orga” / 2LP, CD, DL, 2017, Cyclic Law (GER) & Czar Of Crickets Productions (SUI)
- Sum Of R “Lights On Water” / LP & CD, 2013/14, Utech Records (USA) & Sum Of R (SUI)
- Sum Of R “Sum Of R” / CD, 2008, Utech Records (USA)
- Sum Of R “Ride Out The Waves” / LP, 2012, A Storm As He Walks Records (IT)
- V.A “Black Mass Rising” / 3x LP, 2012, Black Mass Rising (FR)
- V.A “Does Your Cat Know My Dog?” / LP, 2010, Three:four Records (SUI)
// Press commentaries:
„The ensemble is elegant, shimmering and emotionally elevated, combining sacred elements to sorrowful bleak industrialism. Imagine if the monolithic epic doom-rock pieces of Earth or Godspeed You! Black Emperor resonate into a pagan-ritual ambient sounding procession in touch with the divine nature and you’ll have a first idea. Massive, enthralling and mystical.“ (Igloo Magazine, USA)
„The music of Sum Of R is a soundtrack of the judgment day. After the dark and ambient style of the early days of Sum Of R, their music turned into the doom of the new generation, comparable to the development of early Godflesh to Sunn O))).” (Onda Rock, IT)
„Sounds like a shipping container being pushed through the mud by hand; every drum thump is its own distinct punctuation rather than an aftermath of the one before, shunting forward the duo's concrete block one inch at a time into a strangely coherent whole.“ (Rock-A-Rolla, UK)
„The clock goes crazy, the sounds seem to flow forward and backwards at the same time. The sound sources merge into one another and silver vibrations create black whirls.“ (Bad Alchemy, GER)
„Some of the most attractive aspects of Sum Of R's sound lies in the combination of a sort of ominous apocalyptic imminency, one of the most recurring and reasonable leitmotiv in the range of sources for inspiration, with a certain gore, which gives forth from sometimes unpredictable combustions of doom metal, industrial, instrumental rock and drone.“ (Chain D.L.K, USA)