sun 16/06/2024

Album: Samana - Samana | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Samana - Samana

Album: Samana - Samana

Hypnotic psychedelic folk from the Welsh valleys

Samana's self-titled third album: a gothic-leaning, string-infused spectacle

The final track of Samana’s third album is titled “The Preselis,” after the west Welsh mountain range – the place antiquarians suggested as the source of Stonehenge’s blue stones. The song’s opening lyrics are “The blue stones, they grow over me, Carved into mountains, the blood of need.” Later, the words “anima” and “animus” are repeated before the song ends with the recurring refrain “Lay the body down.”

Dovetailing a tenet of Jungian psychology – anima, the female unconscious of a male, and animus, the male unconscious of a female – with notions of an evocative landscape firmly places psychogeography as a core concern for Samana. “A philosophical intersection between somatics, ceremony, dreams and the alchemy of grief” is how the duo of the formerly Brighton-based but currently Llandrindod Wells-resident Rebecca Rose Harris and Franklin Mockett describe the album.

Musically, the duo cleave to a gothic-leaning, string-infused spectacle blurring the boundaries between Dead Can Dance, Mazzy Star, Nico and sigur rós at the point of their international breakthrough. Then, add in dashes of freak-folk, John Martyn, the intensity of Judee Sill’s “The Donor” and Led Zeppelin’s folk-inclined explorations c. Led Zeppelin III – which were born in a Welsh cottage. Back in the late Eighties, Samana’s majestic psychedelic folk would likely have interested the 4AD label.

Now, though, Samana exist in a space which feels hermetic yet inviting. The nine tracks of Samana beckon into their world in the same way tendrils of fog surround, and then lead astray, an unsuspecting traveller. Doubtless, this wish to overwhelm is another core concern for Harris and Mockett. Correspondingly, on this album, they sound as entranced as the cast Werner Herzog hypnotised while directing Heart of Glass. It’s probable they’d be very happy to have this effect on listeners.

@MrKieronTyler

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