Buried in the sound of slumber, Rest is an ample title for the latest album by Gregor Samsa (MySpace). The music finds a home among fellow soft, melodic artists like Sigur Rös, mixing minimalism with composed instrumentation. Fittingly, guitar parts have mostly been replaced by piano – recorded on Philip Glass’s old Bösendorfer!
Even in the earliest of moments of “The Adolescent”, the vocals act more as accompaniment than a typical focal point. The lyrics are soft and difficult to decipher beyond bits and pieces, though the vocal melody is clear. Mixing the vocals down and keeping them subtle is a commonality on Rest that fits well with the music Gregor Samsa creates.
The songs that feature more prominent vocals do find more similarity to Sigur Rös than those without. “Abutting, Dismantling”, “First Mile, Last Mile” and “Jeroen Van Aken” fit this comparison nicely. They are tucked between minimalist music, where the focus is more on the orchestration – it’s almost like a concept album, though not.
Soothing and relaxing is the nature of Gregor Samsa’s music, while its minimal elements occasionally omit the ability to hone in on true melodies beyond soft tonal ones, the harmonies found in the classical instrumentation remove much of the need, placing Rest in the pleasant realms of hypnosis and meditation.
While the nicely packaged ‘unlimited’ version of Rest was just released, a limited edition of 500 is available now on pre-order from Kora. This copy will include the album tucked into a neat little rivet and string folio and include an additional eight page booklet with extra art and words.
This review was originally published April 18, 2008 on the old version of FensePost.
Gregor Samsa: Ain Leuh [mp3]
[audio:090301_gregor_samsa_-_ain_leuh.mp3|titles=Ain Leuh|artists=Gregor Samsa]
The Kora Records [CD, 2008]
1. The Adolescent
2. Ain Leuh
3. Abutting, Dismantling
5. Jeroen Van Aken
6. Rendered Yards
8. First Mile, Last Mile
9. Du Meine Leise