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Album Review

The sparse and atmospheric nature of Samaris' sophomore album Silkidrangar lends itself beautifully to the mystical and fantastical nature of the three musicians behind its haunting and at times hypnotic, beat-driven sound. The trio are no doubt heavily inspired by the rugged and enchanting landscape of their homeland, Iceland, and equally inspired by the wealth of musical talent the country has produced. Samaris themselves, however, don't fall easily into categories, intertwining Þórður Kári Steinþórsson's percussive electronic beats and minimal synth-led melodies, with Jófríður Ákadóttir's ethereal and Björk-inspired breathy vocals; they are a creative force of their own. Their most intriguing and unusual element, however, is provided by Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir's use of the clarinet. The instrument is unobtrusive, but deftly used to eerie effect, offsetting the modern, harsh electronics and instilling a haunting and natural tone to the otherwise dense, bass-led synths and bleeps. Although the album is sung entirely in their native tongue, the barrier to non-speakers is lessened in the knowledge that the lyrics are taken from 19th century Icelandic poetry, and Ákadóttir’s delivery, alongside the words' natural melody, intrigue with an almost mythical quality on "Ég Vildi Fegin Verða" and "Tíbrá." The captivating, chant-like vocals are aided by clever production, which includes plenty of reverb, delay, multi-tracking and, most importantly to Samaris' sound, the unnerving down-tuned vocal that often accompanies Ákadóttir's mesmerizing voice. Also, the contemplative and expansive nature of Silkidrangar is shaped by Þórður Kári Steinþórsson's textured arrangements that evolve into the eerie and moody soundscapes which underpin and carry the musical direction of the record. Despite already releasing their self-titled debut, made up of two domestically released EPs, Silkidrangar feels far more cohesive, if a little darker at times, and has expanded their distinctive sound that in many ways reflects the bleak and beautiful nature that surrounds them.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active:

Icelandic trio Samaris formed in Reykjavik in 2011 and created atmospheric, electronic-influenced music layered with percussive beats and singer Jófrídur Ákadóttir's haunting vocals. Their sound was completed by Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir on the clarinet and Þórður Kári Steinþórsson's rich, textured arrangements. Their otherworldly music was influenced by their lyrics, which were taken from 19th century Icelandic poems and inspired the mesmerizing, chant-like melodies that Jófrídur employed. The band...
Full bio
Silkidrangar, Samaris
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