Introducing… Samaris

Our Introducing... series focuses on artists who we think are worth shouting about. Here we have ethereal electronica outfit, Samaris.

Posted on Jun 24th, 2013 in Features and Interviews, Samaris, One Little Indian / By Larry Day
Introducing… Samaris Here at Bearded we aim to shed light on acts who don't necessarily have giant labels or muscley budgets waving banners behind them. This Introducing series will focus on artists who we think are great, regardless of how much hype surrounds them or where their origin story lays.

Name: Samaris
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Genre: Electronica
Similar Artists: Sigur Rós (at a pinch)
Contact: Facebook, Twitter
Events: New album, Samaris, due out July 29th

Iceland has given many astounding, jaw-dropping artists to the world. Björk, Sigur Rós, múm, Ólafur and Ólöf Arnalds and recent chart heavyweights, Of Monsters and Men all call the Scandinavian nation home. They all weave a technical prowess with a penchant for nature and heartfelt emotion; big, sweeping noises and lyrical sagas are common features. It's almost always (for lack of a better phrase) achingly beautiful music. Newcomers Samaris are no different. Not one member has even broached their twenties, yet they're still creating stunning sounds. Influenced by classic Icelandic literature, punk-rock and classical music, they're bringing something slightly new to the sonic smorgasbord of their native lands.

They summon frail electronica from the depths of an Arctic abyss. Þórður Kári Steinþórsson is on production duties, orchestrating a multitude of synth layers and skeletal robotic beats. His style nods to Jamie xx: Steinþórsson favours post-dubstep clicks and trance pads. The other two members are vocalist Jófríður Ákadóttir and the clarinet-wielding Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir. Ákadóttir's voice is ineffably gobsmacking; her pipes indicate the prowess of someone much older, and she holds the entire mood of their music with her lips. Magnúsdóttir injects a unique element into their sound. There are so few bands that utilise the clarinet that their timbre is instantly altered and made different from any once-similar acts. The instrument adds a natural essence into the electronic diaspora.

Samaris' upcoming UK debut, Samaris, is a combination of their two EPs previously released in Iceland, plus a few remixes. The EPs sold out faster than you can spell 'Reykjavik' – they were so popular, that it's becoming increasingly hard to track down a copy with every passing day. Fortunately we can soon experience them in the form of their premiere LP.

'Góða Tungl' is phenomenal. With finger-snap snares and lollygagging bass, it's a rhythmic tour de force. Timebomb-tick hi-hats penetrate the top end of the sound and cleansing kick drum permeates the lower end. Ákadóttir's buoyant folk-tinged vocals float through the music, gasping for air and sighing in agony amongst the indecipherable language; clarinet and pitch-shifted vox harmonies provide extra dimensions. It's a viral belter brimming with icy shards of electronica, soft shades of folk and the rickety beats of ambient trip-hop.

'Stofnar Falla' is darker. It's a brooding, sinister sliver of synth-based neo-classical music. Steinþórsson unleashes a mysterious backdrop for woodwind and dulcet tones to converse; as the noises ware on, the cut becomes increasingly anxious, paranoid even. 'Vöggu Dub' follows on swiftly. It's far choppier: keys wax and wane, sampled vocals burst periodically and there are wobs of rumbling bass.

Samaris are pushing boundaries. The trio are experimenting with styles and dabbling in many areas of avante-garde audio to extraordinary effect: they may only be wee whippersnappers, but this burgeoning threesome are crafting music far beyond their years, and more successfully than the majority of UK acts who've received uproarious fanfare this year. The forthcoming record may be a collection of already-heard tracks, but it's still probably the best thing you'll hear until autumn. Why autumn, you ask? Well, that's when their next record comes out.