Samaris - Samaris
1 - Hljóma þú
2 - Viltu Vitrast
3 - Góða Tungl
4 - Stofnar Falla
5 - VögguDub
6 - Sólhvörf I
7 - Sólhvörf II
8 - Kælan Mikla
9 - Hljóma þú [Muted Remix]
10 - Viltu Vitrast [Futuregrapher Remix]
11 - Góða Tungl [DJ Arfi Remix]
12 - Stofnar Falla [Sub:Minimal Remix]

Butterfly drowned in echo

Trio Samaris was formed in January 2011, after a few months the band won the Músíktilraunir (Musical Experiments) competition, the year after Of Monsters and Men. The jury of this battle of the bands for teenagers and people in their twenties, has a rich tradition in choosing promising bands as victors (Kolrassa Krókríðandi aka Bellaxtrix, Maus, Mínus, Agent Fresco, just to name a few).
Clarinet player Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir, singer Jófríður Ákadóttir (also singer-songwriter-guitarist of the duo – with her twin sister – Pascal Pinon) and electronic wizard Þórður Kári Steinþórsson, bring a downtempo, ambient, jazzy triphop.

Spacy, atmospheric, melancholic dreampop, often compared with The XX and James Blake. But one could also say Enigma or Enya-like, others would collate with Cocteau Twins, Curve, Lush, Mazzy Star, Miranda Sex Garden, The Sundays, and This Mortal Coil.

On 29. July 2013 the band released an eponymously-titled album on the One Little Indian label for the British market. OLI is fond of Icelandic artists for many years: Magga Stína, Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson, Ásgeir (Trausti), Ólöf Arnalds, and of course pioneers The Sugarcubes & Björk. This album contains the 2 EPs “Hljóma Þú” (2011) and “Stofnar falla” (2012); Iceland-only releases. Eight original songs supplemented with 4 remixes. These extras remind me of Sigur Rós RMX album “Von brigði” (Smekkleysa, 1998), The Sugarcubes RMX album “It’s-it” (Elektra, 1992), and the countless Björk remixes.

The album’s opener is “Hljóma Þú”: a downbeat, hypnotic hymn with sorceress Jófríður whispering cryptic spells, flanked by a claustrophobic clarinet. Song 2 “Viltu Vitrast” contains a more drawling voice. “Góða Tungl” has a reverberating male touch. In the fourth track “Stofnar Falla” the parlando turns into singing. Dark but dreamy “Vöggudub” generously generates alpha brain waves on your EEG. “Sólhvörf (I)” has a solid clarinet fondament. “Sólhvörf (II)” brings more variation than part I. “Kælan Mikla” is a Björk-esque tune that shows the potential of Samaris. The inclusion of 4 remixes is justified. “Hljóma Þú” (Muted Remix), Futuregrapher’s injection of sun in his “Viltu Vitrast” Opinberun RMX, DJ Arfi Haunted House “Góða Tungl” RMX, but La grande finale is the Drum & Bass Subminimal RMX of “Stofnar Falla”.

At the moment Samaris resembles a promising Mondriaan painting, but the next stage could be a Van Gogh sunflower. With a good caretaker this post-shoegaze caterpillar can become a beautiful frisky butterfly on the “real” debut album this fall. A make-over by Curver Thoroddsen, like with the band Sigur Rós (“180 Sekúndur Fyrir Sólarupprás” RMX) or the band Sometime (album “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, Itsuka, 2007), or otherwise a Barði Jóhannsson’s “Lady & Bird” facelift, could do something extraordinary. Time will tell.

– Wim Van Hooste

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