Album Review: Gregor Samsa, Over Air

Gregor Samsa, Over AirAs I sit here fully expecting winter to be over, some of the biggest snowflakes of the season start to make their way to the ground. Nothing is better for stifling my mild anger at this occasion and inciting some reflection than some uplifting post-rock. To my luck, there is a new album in my collection that is perfect for the occasion, Over Air by Gregor Samsa.  This Virgina-based band has assembled a collection of live radio recordings, alternate mixes of previous songs, and an eerie remix from Labradford that amplify their heavenly, multi-layered brilliance with a warmer organic atmosphere than I’ve heard them record thus far.

While I was skeptical at first whether or not this radio session at Amsterdam ‘s Desmet Studios for VPRO would be worth my time, the quality of these songs exceeds that of many releases I’ve heard this year. In truth, this patchwork collection of songs definitely plays like an album, and even reworked songs like “Young & Old” and the non-live mixes sound right in place and are breathing a new life. The live setting does wonders for the atmosphere of the record, as well. It’s quite blissful to see the white, puffy snow drift down as Champ Bennet’s fingers slowly grind along the strings of guitar during a chord change or when the dual vocal melodies exponentiate the wash of noise.

The free flowing driving rhythm and unified (and pronounced) male and female voices of these songs easily distinguish Gregor Samsa from many of the other bands they’re frequently compared to (GY!BE, Sigur Ros, Brian Eno), and the direction of the material is generally much more lively and positive. While they aren’t afraid to shift into more somber territory for extended periods of time, the warm, heart-melting vocals and quiet beeps, storming pianos, rhythmic glitches, and live ambiance keep these sections from feeling neither boring nor depressing. It’s an album that takes its time, causing you to beg for more while you hang on each note. Nothing on the album sounds forced, and the music changes pace very naturally; now it’s fading out, as is the passing storm storm.

Gregor Samsa

If you’re interested in more about this awesome composition, keep reading to dig deeper and view videos & download mp3s from the album and access Gregor Samsa on the web…

DOWNLOAD: “Three (VPRO)” (from Over Air, 2009)

VIDEO: “Jeroen Van Aeken” (from Rest, 2008) *live version is on Over Air*

DIG DEEPER: Preview and Buy Over AirOfficial SiteMySpace


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