Samaris – Samaris (2013 UK CLR)
Expansive & open sound
Excessive random crackles could be annoying
Samaris’ self titled album is a British release of two Icelandic EPs in one set – 2011 Hljóma Þú and 2013 Stofnar falla, recorded at Sigur Rós’ Sundlaugin studio with Gunnar Tynes of múm. They were original released on domestic-only CDr releases.
Samaris is an Icelandic trio made up of Jófríður Ákadóttir on vocals, pÞórður Kári Steinþórsson providing electronic production and Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir on clarinet.
Hljóma Þú contains three original tracks and three remixes of the three tracks, originally mastered by Birgir Jón Birgisson. Stofnar Falla contains five original tracks and a remix of the title track Stofnar Falla, originally mastered by Birgir Sigurdsson (Bix). Greg Moore at Masterpiecek, who currently works at Finyl Twee, did the lacquer cutting for the vinyl edition. This One Little Indian transparent edition in UK and the green and pick edition, Hljóma Þú EP is on green vinyl and Stofnar Falla EP is on pink, released on 12 Tónar in Iceland.
Supported by deep percussive beats and haunting clarinet, the trio takes inspiration from the 19th century Icelandic poetry that makes up their lyrics. It is a cliché but it is hard not to think of Björk when I listen to Ákadóttir’s beautiful but restrained and strong vocals as she meanders through whispers, falsettos and rich textured melodies.
Samaris could be accused of boring as too often, all the songs feel repetitive, tied to the same rhythm, tempo and mood. Look past this on repeated listening, you’ll find their is saturated with lush, atmospheric electronics and delicate arrangements.
The overall sound is excellent for clear vinyl pressing but there are a lot of crackles. Disc 2 Stofnar Falla is noisier.