The word soma appears over 3000 years ago in the Indian Vedic scriptures as the divine nectara drug/food with powerful physical, mental, and spiritual properties. According to one commentator, Soma is “…the principle of bliss…the essence, in sense-objects and sense-experiences, in the plants and growths of the earth-nature. The mystic Soma-plant symbolizes that element behind all sense-activities and their enjoyments which yields the divine essence.” For the classical Greeks, soma meant ‘body’ and is the root of English words like somatic. (Soma also appeared infamously in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World as the quasi-narcotic pleasure drug which kept the masses quiescent.)
‘We wanted this music to feel primordial, not technological, ‘ says Robert Rich, ‘…to stimulate the body as means of joining the physical, mental, and spiritual in a journey of almost psychedelic intensity. ‘
By turns earthy, danceable, sensuous, erotic, psychoactive, and mystical, SoMA’s heady brew of organic percussion instruments, pulsing heartbeat rhythms, airy ethnic flutes, keening slide guitars, and dense synthesized ambiences might well be labeled “Terratronic.” With SoMA, Steve Roach and Robert Rich have taken another powerful step on the road to reinventing contemporary music as a shamanic practice.