Samaris: Stofnar Falla EP - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Samaris: Stofnar Falla EP

Atli Bollason
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Published June 12, 2013

On their second EP, young trio Samaris further develop their dystopian folk sound. The palette is similar—clarinet, breathy vocals, dark Icelandic folk melodies with folkloric lyrics—all held together with electronic beats, bass and synths. It’s a move away from the dubstep leanings of their debut towards a more straightforward and minimal rhythm structure.
I was not familiar with Samaris’s previous EP when I first listened to this one. And, although sort of amazing, ‘Stofnar Falla’ is not quite as captivating as their debut. I attribute this mostly to the programming and processing which conjured striking walls of haze in both “Hljóma þú” and “Góða tungl,” but feels a bit more generic this time round.
The best tracks here are “VögguDub,” (“CradleDub”) a spaced out track with lush pads and microscopic vocal snippets. The melody constantly winds around itself before introducing a beautiful harmony.
When the sub-bass drops and the clarinet bends a blue note you realise that this is essentially a 95bpm deep house track masquerading as “folktronica” (Fuck, I promised not to use that word!). “Sólhvörf II” (“Solstice”) is also a highlight, its ruthless kick drum and tambourine adding the spunk sorely missing from “Sólhvörf I.”
However, it’s entirely possible that the very best track is Subminimal’s remix of the title track. His lung-collapsing bass and finely trimmed DnB breaks (somewhat reminiscent of Photek’s work in the ’90s) complement the eerie atmosphere perfectly, only embellishing the rural sound with an urban dread and loneliness.

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