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Samaris announce debut album + UK date

June 6, 2013


Back in 2011 in the days before Kony was a ‘thing’, and literally at the same moment Occupy moved peacefully into St. Pauls, I caught a little known act called Samaris during Iceland Airwaves.

The three-piece played in the intimate, wooden-lined venue of Faktorý round the corner from our hotel in Reykjavík – and there must have been no more than 12 people present. That didn’t matter, it was a joy to witness something that felt a little special as the close, dark atmosphere mirrored the intimate dimly lit surroundings under a cramped low ceiling.

Fast forward a year to IA 2012 and Samaris had been propelled to main venue stardom at the thousand+ capacity Reykjavik Art Museum where they opened Thursday night’s festivities (as captured by our photographer Nick Miners below). A bit of a wtf moment. Yet they still nailed it – the mighty soundsystem of the venue allowing the deep bass wobbing to invade the cavernous air of the tall room, with a downtempo trip-hop-esque vibe submerged in something a lot more contemporary in the field of electronica.

Samaris 2
Samaris 5

It’s an area that Icelandic music hasn’t grapsed particularly well on the whole (arguably) – a land more famed for upbeat good-time electronic-pop, and, god-damn beautiful mood music that’s difficult to not describe as ‘ethereal’ or ‘achingly beautiful’. And pretty guitar stuff. Don’t get me wrong – the creatvity of Reykjavík’s music scene is astonishingly vibrant and an utterly charming benevolent entity, especially once you factor in the tiny population size. However Samaris are at the forefront of ‘post’ electronic sounds, assimilating a mass of modern teachings, and not stuck in a 00’s epoch. Rich, celestial beats coalesce with Jófríður Ákadóttir’s delicate and eerie vocal. Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir’s clarinet adds a bespoke and welcome leftfield twist to proceedings as Þórður Kári Steinþórsson’s aforementioned behind-the-controls puppeteering weaves the package together to form something rather beautiful. It’s forward-thinking yet also classically Iceland – a dangerously immersive combination.

Anyways it stuck with me. To date two Icelandic EPs have been released by the precocious teenagers – but now a debut eponymous album has been announced, and on a UK-label for a deserved access to a wider-market. The LP is out on 29th July on One Little Indian on LP(x2), CD and Digital Download. Pre-order here.

Grab your best pair of headphones and listen to ‘Góða tung’ below that has been kicking around for a couple of years and will also feature on the album, and prepare to be a bit blown-away. Be sure to catch them play thier first ever UK-date at Servants Jazz Quarters in London – see here for details/tickets.

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