Ben Bohmer’s often ethereal compositions are characterised by a strong sense of melody and atmosphere. They are laid back, like the calm after an armistice. Bright melodies glide over upbeat rhythms and interlock with bouncy synthesizer lines that sometimes cross over into ambient but always remain firm footed in deep progressive house. His adherence to the House framework gives him a strong sense of place, like the feeling of coming back to something good again but are open enough to expand just near the edges of the envelope.
If you are just getting into his music, here are six essential tracks you must listen to.
Reflection: A collaboration with Wood and Margret, the song starts with a deep reverberating bassline that plays alongside an upbeat rhythm section to create an almost trance-like undercurrent but never fully crosses over. Soon bright melodies bring the track back right into deep house with a relaxed, almost off-time melody that dances along at the edge of the beat while hard synthesizer stabs complete the composition. Vocals join in about halfway through as the track rebuilds back up to strength but this time with some added layers if you pay attention.
After Earth: What if instead of dreading the apocalypse, we welcome it? That’s what this song feels like, a celebration of what earth was instead of gloom over its inevitable destruction. A deep beat propelled by a synthesizer-led bassline kicks the track off but is soon halted in its tracks by some ethereal ambient soundscapes before being joined by an alternating keyboard rhythm with some delightful arpeggios dancing on top of the melodic base. Soon, the beat kicks back in and the track builds to a strong conclusion.
In Memoriam: A melodic bed of sombre soundscapes kicks off the track as a bassline builds underneath, soon the beat kicks in and is joined by melancholic melodies as the bassline morphs oscillating with the beat, while shimmering hi-hats sparkle on top. It’s almost like the sunset and sunrise at the same time.
Decade: Filled to the brim with bouncing arpeggios and hard synthesizer stabs that give way to a vocal section as the song quiets down. For a while, only the sampled and distorted, echoing voices serve as the rhythm while the vocals continue. Soon, the beat kicks back in with a harder edge that is blunted with even more bouncing arps as the song winds down towards the end.
Promise You: Bright melodies play over a slowly building rhythm section that explodes as soon as the first vocal hook kicks in. The bassline lingers, the notes holding strong while the beat does its thing. The sampled vocal hooks play softly on top as Bohmer creates some very interesting soundscapes in the background. We are treated to a skeletal piano break halfway through but soon the keyboards shimmer back up again joined by the beat as the song builds towards a conclusion.
Flug and Fall: Beautiful, bouncing melodies kick the track off as the beat prods along. Before long, we listen to interesting vocal samples and keyboard lines that build in layers as the beat increases in intensity, there is even a piano thrown in but used sparingly as the song crescendos before closing out abruptly.