Friday, December 01, 2006

Animatronic Movement: Samarah at Your Location


Twelve days ago, Samarah's Robots Smile Too EP made its way to us, a wonderful little joy that I've been listening to quite enjoyably once it reached the head of the queue.

Samarah's sound revolves around spinning an elegant, glass-like vocal in a web of small glitches, minimalist beats, and small keyboard dashes. There's an exquisite feedback effect here: the music is so open that the rest of the instrumentation plays across the vocals, giving each line a different aura. The instruments and their sparing use is done well in most cases.

Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect experience: the opener, "Sputterwhirl", doesn't hold together that well as a song. There's no real vocal hook, consistently interesting rhythm, or unique flourishes to hold your interest, leaving it seeming unfinished, a patchwork piece.

Still, after that, things immediately improve with "Strip Mall Romance"'s haunting passages and stark groove. "Static Patterns", the final song, seems like "Sputterwhirl" redux to some degree, but the keyboard measures and gossamer vocals make it a standout.

So what's similar to this? Not that much, to be honest. There's very little out there with the same "minimalist + glitch + haunting female vocals" formula, and for that I'm grateful this came our way. However, Múm shares the minimalist bent and female vocals (and some of the glitch), while a lot of Warp Records' roster (at one point or another) share the same proclivities for glitch, including Mira Calix, Autechre, and Prefuse 73's side project, Delarosa & Asora.

Finally, I must take note of how you can acquire this for yourself: You can either order it here, in an utterly enchanting floppy disc version (as in, CD in a floppy, as you can see above, not the I-need-Dad's-old-computer version), or download it from the label's website here. (There's another EP on the website, too.) The floppy disc contains a bonus track, but it wasn't sent to us to review.

7 comments:

Roland said...

Hi-five! Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Great post!

BTW - I absolutely LOVE Mum, is there any way you could re-post that show? The links are dead . . . :(

Thanks!

Roland said...

Sure thing, the links should be working now. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Arpit Mehta said...

(Sorry for the late response, but) Mew does a great job with their songs - She's Coming Home for Christmas is one of my all time favorites. The rest of that album is brilliant and The Glass Handed Kites is pretty good too. I'll have to check out the one you recommended!

Roland said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by. (For those you confused, we're talking about this post. I should really revisit Mew. Hopefully they'll play here soon!

rgsc said...

I love the use of the 5 1/4 disk as packaging. I'm a sucker for homemade/unique packaging. The music is pretty cool, too. I also have a softspot for female vocals and glitchiness.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reposting the Mum show, it sounds great!

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