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Gregor Samsa - 55:12 CD (album) cover


Gregor Samsa


Post Rock/Math rock

3.95 | 28 ratings

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4 stars Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’ is one of those stories I read as a teenager and again as a liberal-arts undergraduate. I think it’s somehow appropriate that I never noticed the main character had a name, and that it was Gregor Samsa.

The band Gregor Samsa reminds me quite a bit of Sigur Rós but with vocals that are closer to the sad and earthy sound of Efrim Menuck in his A Silver Mt. Zion incarnation. The mood of this music is quite a bit like both of these bands; sad but not overly melancholy, sonically very analog-sounding which gives it a very real and tangible character, and overall seeming to chronicle a little slice of The Struggle without being morbid or fatalistic about it. I like that.

The use of a theremin and lap steel gives the music an American tone that sets it apart somewhat from its many Canadian and Nordic post-rock counterparts, and the tendency to explore the sometimes sparse chords that make up each track rather than try and overwhelm listeners with walls of sound and crashing crescendos is also a rather unique characteristic that makes the music quite appealing. Not that there aren’t buildups and crescendos – there are, they just don’t form the complete mark of the music. And Nikki King’s vocals are a pleasant change of pace from so many other post-rock bands. Not too many female singers in this genre, and she complements Champ Bennett beautifully.

My main impression when listening to this music is that these guys don’t seem to be in much of a hurry; to make music, to express themselves, to get through life. Every track is even-paced, laconic, and designed to give emphasis to each instrument, usually by means of highlighting them individually as they enter into a composition. It’s an interesting style and one that does not seem to become too familiar or mundane despite repeated playing. The long and lazy “Even Numbers” is very representative of the sound of the rest of the album and every time I play it I’m surprised that ten minutes have elapsed so quickly. “Loud and Clear” on the other hand seems much longer than the couple of minutes that the label says it runs. This is a very interesting talent of seeming to morph time that the band has.

There aren’t really any standout tracks here, but no weak ones either. This is a very consistent album that seems to have a theme even if that theme is not quite apparent.

I would recommend this highly to fans of the genre, as well as to progressive music fans who are looking for very well-orchestrated ‘mood’ music that can be played in the forefront and not simply as background sounds for a lazy afternoon. Frankly your afternoon might end up becoming lazy when you play it though, but you could probably do with a bit of a rest anyway so go ahead. Four stars and lookng forward to the next one.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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