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GREGOR SAMSA

Post Rock/Math rock • United States


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Gregor Samsa picture
Gregor Samsa biography
Here are some of the words and impressions that come to mind when thinking of their full length debut 55:12 :
Movie soundtrack, slow, mellow, melancholic, delicate, tender, dreamy, man/woman vocal duo turning to the more dynamic drum accompanied melodic textures.

So who is Gregor Samsa? Well, to be honest, Gregor Samsa is the main character from The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.
This Richmond, Virginia originating band (which is now based in Brooklyn, NY), took their name from that character and are creating music which might be as dark as some of Kafka's stories. The words in the beginning can give you a good idea of the general feeling one gets while listening to their first album, released in 2006 by Kora, after two EP's (Gregor Samsa, 27:36) and a split with Red Sparowes. In terms of feeling and mellowness, Sigur Ros may come to mind (and in some tracks, in sound as well). Some comparisons have been made with GYBE!, but GYBE! are much darker, while Gregor Samsa have this sound which is, for lack of a better word, Sad. Also, they don't have the experimental side that GYBE! portrays. The combination of female and male vocals serves the music right and allows the music to have two "falvours" if you will. Those are usually quiet, subtle voices that are almost spoken. In fact a lot in their music is rather calm and even quiet and in many places you will find either an acoustic sound or a rhythm-less part. In certain parts it even is fitting music as a soundtrack for a movie. Overall, the word serene would be most appropriate.
Recommended if you like the mellow and gentle side of Post-Rock.

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Approved by the Post-Rock Team



Discography:
Gregor Samsa, EP (2002)
27:36, EP (2003)
Red Sparowes/Gregor Samsa, split (2005)
55:12, studio album (2006)

Gregor Samsa official website

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55:1255:12
Kora Records 2006
Audio CD$13.00
$2.99 (used)
RestRest
Kora Records 2008
Audio CD$6.75 (used)
27:3627:36
Iodine Recordings 2003
Audio CD$8.36
$2.49 (used)
Gregor SamsaGregor Samsa
Iodine Recordings 2002
Audio CD$42.04
$8.68 (used)
Rest [Vinyl]Rest [Vinyl]
Limited Edition
Kora Records 2008
Vinyl$203.00
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GREGOR SAMSA discography


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GREGOR SAMSA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 28 ratings
55:12
2006
4.00 | 12 ratings
Rest
2008

GREGOR SAMSA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GREGOR SAMSA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GREGOR SAMSA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Over Air
2009

GREGOR SAMSA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 3 ratings
Gregor Samsa
2002
4.85 | 4 ratings
27:36
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Red Sparowes / Gregor Samsa
2005

GREGOR SAMSA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 27:36 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
4.85 | 4 ratings

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27:36
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat

5 stars Oh my God! I just discovered this band tonight while surfing YouTube. This is some of the most beautiful music I have heard in a long time. This is right up there with Sigur Ros as far as beauty, Post-Rock mentality with English lyrics and a lot of male/female harmonics that just pierce the soul. I know I can't really review this after only hearing it once, but I must say that I am totally impressed with this and have instantly fallen in love with this sound. I will definitely be exploring this band and commenting on their sound though after this experience. Throughout this E.P., you get all of the Post- rock build ups that you expect, all of them wonderful, but the payoffs are magnificent. Other than that, I am speechless after hearing this and as I get to know their music, I will review whatever I can get my hands on or whatever I can wrap my ears around. Listen and make your own judgment. I don't think you will be disappointed and your ears and your mind will thank you.

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 55:12 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 28 ratings

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55:12
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by The Truth
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars A wonderful blend of the classic post rock sound, ambient, and shoegaze. Gregor Samsa has come up with something stunning.

The only reason I knew this band existed is because I love the author Franz Kafka. The band's name is derived from the main character in his book The Metamorphosis and this led me to really want to hear this band.

I was rather pleased to hear this fresh new post rock sound that has the melancholy that makes me love post rock and yet contains other elements that make it amazing. Shoegaze is a wonderful object to add to the thick texture the album has and it produces a wonderful sound.

One interesting thing about this album is that unlike quite a few post rock bands where the vocals detract from the pleasure of the listening experience, this is actually used as a stimulant. Only a few bands can pull this off and they happen to be my favorite post rock bands.

Great little beauty, go ahead and try it if you love post rock. If not, start loving post rock by listening to it.

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 55:12 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 28 ratings

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55:12
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Forscyvus

4 stars Too often does post-rock fall into the trap of repeating patterns with increasing volume with the goal of each track to build a wall of sound to immerse the listener. While a legitimate structure, it can become tiresome after a while, so it's refreshing that Gregor Samsa has chosen to take the genre in a bit of a different direction.

The music stays slow and melancholic throughout, save for a bit of "Even Numbers," but that's not unexpected for a post-rock band, and it makes for good relaxation or studying music. There are no weak tracks that just beg for me to reach for the skip button (which is always a huge plus in my book), rather, each track flows into the other nicely, with a nice (yet subtle and understated) oscillation of sadder tunes and happier ones.

The magic of the album is found not in increasing volume of noise but in that the band will repeat a pattern of chords spelled out with very simple lines, and build up to a new line, following the same chords, that is very rewarding. The best example of this is at the end of "What I Can Manage" when a guitar line is played that's almost joyful, if restrained.

One thing that could be a plus or a minus depending on your taste is the vocals. They're never sung in full voice, but they're low enough in the mix that the breathiness of them doesn't stand out irritatingly. The band uses two vocalists, one male and one female, and has some very nice interplay between them sometimes. My opinion on the voices usually varies from "don't notice" (not necessarily a bad thing) to "fairly nice." The best showcase of vocals on the album is at the end of "We'll lean this way forever" when the female vocalist gets some overdubbing and a lot of windy microphone noise, which strikes me as something that *should* be irritating, but instead is actually very interesting to listen to in my opinion.

Basically, if you like your post-rock, you can't go wrong with Gregor Samsa. It probably won't bring too many people into the genre, and it'll probably be more appreciated by those who are fans of Sigur Ros rather than MONO, but a very good album nonetheless. Four stars well deserved.

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 55:12 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 28 ratings

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55:12
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by JTP88

4 stars This is one of the most wonderful albums I have ever heard, of course this isn't anything groundbreaking, or absolutely astonishing, but I just feel so pleased listening to this...it's soft, gentle, mellow and sweet, and extremely heart-breaking.

Gregor Samsa have two vocalist, who often harmonize together to create beautiful melodies, over a very very minimalistic background, with very few guitar notes and minimal drums, always in a very slow-paced mood. However, "Even Numbers" has a great and fast, more "filled-up" section, with violins and all, that is really really beautiful.

As in every post-rock album (at least a good one), the album is entirely an highlight , however, I just feel I have to mention "Young And Old", my favorite song in here, a beautiful, eerie and sentimental song that just touches me like very few do (actually, in post-rock, a lot do!), but it moves me very much.

Not very progressive, and not even a post-rock masterpiece, but a beautiful album and I think every post-rock fan should listen to it, as it's very likable and satisfying.

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 Rest by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.00 | 12 ratings

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Rest
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Amazing.

Thsi time GREGOR SAMSA are less Post-Rock influenced (at least they aren't carrying their influences on their sleeves). 'Rest' has more common with Dream Pop and Shoegaze (well, GS fall into this category too, since first EPs of them). This is when silence means more than the sound itslef, and it reminds me so good of my beloved late TALK TALK. For example, 'The Adolescent' (warm one) and 'Abutting, Dismantling' (cold one) are bulit around simple melodies, supplied with dreamy female and male vocals (Nikki and Champ), they flow easily, unfolding until the end, without those usual Post-Rock crescendoes and dozen guitars playing the same climax. Uplifting and optimistic, music on 'Rest' is still dark and moody, even sad...but heart-illuminating in the same time. For those who likes some Slowcore or Dream Pop thrown in Post-Rock and for all late TALK TALK fans 'Rest' may be the best release of this year sp far. 4 for now, but this may change to 5! Will see. Highly recommended!

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 55:12 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 28 ratings

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55:12
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

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.

peace

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 55:12 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 28 ratings

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55:12
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by avalanchemaster

4 stars This disc is excellent and as sad and contemplative as it gets, but really the e.p. material they have released is a little prefered by me.....This band has a bright future ahead of them though, as they use just the right mix of ambience/feel/atmosphere that just saturates your being and envelopes you in pure emotion- which is something that few have mastered, Gregor Samsa does it well. Highly recommended for those into the slo-core and sad-core (emo? Hardly! this stomps all over most emo with a vengeance.) The layering of instruments is a pleasant dream. I could listen to them all day long. So beautifully tragic! You can tell they know their shoegaze and ethereal pop bands well, yet this hardly sounds derivative, with a male and female vocal approach their is great room for harmonies galore. I cannot praise this band enough! 4.5 merely because I prefer the first s/t e.p., yet this has a longer playing time, arrrrrggggghhhhh! all of their stuff is excellent. cannot get enough. great music for using headphones in the dark just before or after sleep.

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 55:12 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 28 ratings

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55:12
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Equality 7-2521

4 stars Gregor Samsa describe themselves as "Slow and sad. Slow and happy, but never fast and anything."

That pretty much takes the words out of my mouth. The most common Post-Rock formula (at least in people's minds) of "silence to violence" fails to capture Gregor Samsa. As the band said, everything is kept at the slow end of the spectrum. The album moves along like a raft in calm water, every minute movement is visible and introduced slowly. 55:12 may be called minimalist in this regard. Changes happen very slowly and every new instrument or variation will instantly be recognized by the listener. The songs do have their occasional crescendo where things speed up, begin to happen more quickly, and fill up to a sort of wall of sound instead of the albums standard sparse instrumentation, but even these don't escape the relaxed, calming, just gentle nature of 55:12. The album focuses on mood and succeeds, never failing to make you feel it. As such, this isn't a record which will have frequent rotation while you're working out, throwing a party, acting like a ninja, etc. It's the kind of music for a slow drive at night or sitting on your porch in the rain.

Two interweaving male and female vocalist make up Gregor Samsa's gimmick, for lack of a better word. The two vocalists, whether singing in harmony or soloing, with their rich, soothing voices, contribute the greatest to the music. Instrumentally the album is fantastic shying away from the bulk post-rock guitar sound of many bands in the genre and focuses more on piano, cello, and violin for its engaging sound, but with the vocals the album becomes Gregor Samsa without them so much is missing. The amazing chemistry between the two singers reminds me of a man and his wife talking in bed before sleep. So overpowering is the connection that I'd be shocked to find out that the two are not romantically involved.

There's a thin line between maintaining a mood and being monotonous. Gregor Samsa bravely walk the line, and never fall onto the uglier half. This certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I doubt anyone will find anything objectionable about it. The Post-Rock genre contains far more variety than many here seem to realize; 55:12 may be your first step in discovering its scope.

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 55:12 by GREGOR SAMSA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 28 ratings

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55:12
Gregor Samsa Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

4 stars When you're taking a name from Kafka's work, be prepared to any kind of miracles ;) The main one is that GS may be the most interesting band from Shoegaze realms in Post-Rock country these days.

It is mellow and mild, with rare climaxes, mostly song-oriented with both female and male whispering vocals. My eternal GY!BE-greed had been satisfied with tracks like "Even Numbers" (heavenly!!!), "Young and Old" and "Lessening". Girl's vocals are so tender and thin, somehow reminding me of Trip-Hop manner. Musically GREGOR SAMSA is mostly acoustic, almost pastoral, close to MONO or IMMANU EL in terms of creating peaceful and calm music. Excellent Post-Rock that reassures my love to the genre. Extremely recommended and not to be missed!!!

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Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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