It’s a perhaps a clumsy way to start a review but often these days, when I hear new music, I think about it in terms of what I’d say in a review. A mental dialogue that’s perhaps me trying to break the music down, to understand it, and wondering what’s actually happening, what it reminds me of, and how it makes me feel…
One album that came to us back in April and hit us over the head with the purest of sonic laser beams. It’s taken this long to attempt to explain it. But sometimes what needs said is really is simple – Sammusik by Owen Gardner is totally marvellous.
The album collects two tracks 1 and 2, both are almost 53 blissful minutes long, filled with electronic rhythm streams that slowly modifies themselves in a bouncing kaleidoscopic form of joy.
1 spins around shiny gamelan over a bed of electronic fluttering pulses. Slowly, we are, atom by atom, propelled forward like a single note is rendered in 3 dimensions. 2 bounces around the fattest, most lysergic organ tone this side of Terry Riley’s Time Lag Accumulator. Then, again spends time similarly building some form of geodesic dome around the listener’s brain.
There is, of course, a strategy at play here, outline by the artwork, a process that regenerates itself in rapidly refreshing states, elements reconfiguring their position relative to each other. Sammusik is the result of a filter, a string of code, a sequence that feels like it can be applied to any small musical gesture. As it works though the set parameters, the whole event quickly blossoms into a psychedelic blanket of sound. Whatever is actually happening it’s dizzyingly good and quickly ferments into a rich mental feast.
Gardner is also a member of the stunningly good Horse Lords so it might be quite easy to regard this as a lesser side project, but, as his band’s mixtape series also proves, Sammusik is as vital as anything either he or the group have done. Evidence again, they seem incapable of doing anything less than mind-blowing.
As background working music, headphone worm-holing or mapped out in late-night adventures, it’s been like human catnip at OBLADADA – Sammusik is definitely a major sonic highlight and one of most effervescent listens to come our way in a long time. It’s essential.
Sammusik is available digitally here