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Album review: 'Soma' 

The Moho Collective

'Soma'

Self-Released

themohocollective.com.

After almost a decade of perfecting its live sound, Rochester art rock trio The Moho Collective is now celebrating its third release. While more stripped down than previous albums, "Soma" continues to expand its musical boundaries by exploring the sonic possibilities offered in a mid-19th century church recording studio. The Moho Collective plans to release more of these acoustic sessions from Mike Brown's Temperamental Recordings in Geneseo, and "Soma" is the first in the series.

"Soma" mixes instrumental rock with assorted genres such as world, blues, jazz, and more, delivering a different spiritual journey for each listener. Guitarist Kurt Johnson embraces Middle Eastern quarter-tones while drummer Ryan Barclay juggles African polyrhythms, and bassist Justin Rister comes up with unexpectedly mesmerizing grooves. Everything is accented by a wash of various orchestral timbres in songs like "Koya," with the help of violinist Lauren Rister and Aaron Shewan on French horn.

A collage of long and winding meditations, "Soma" gives the listener a feeling of determination, perseverance, and spiritual yearning. Enjoy more upbeat tunes like "Dogpatch" or reflect in the transcendent echo pool of "Amber & Hazel." The Moho Collective has made another adventurous masterpiece that demonstrates its creative exploration has no boundaries.

-- BY KATIE HALLIGAN

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