Gregor Samsa | Rest (The Kora)

cd_gregor-samsa.jpgAbandoning the distorted guitars and meandering ambivalence which haunt earlier recordings, Rest relies more on a myriad of new instruments, employed in new ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregor Samsa’s latest metamorphosis was unveiled in February with the group’s piano-driven third record, Rest. Abandoning the distorted guitars and meandering ambivalence which haunt earlier recordings, Rest relies more on a myriad of new instruments, employed in new ways. Strings, keyboards, vibraphone, celesta and a piano (previously owned by Phillip Glass, I might add) coalesce, making this the group’s most mature and centered album.

What’s truly amazing is that Rest was recorded over nine months and across five states through emails and satellite recording sessions between the key band members. Thirteen people contributed to this album, which makes me curious how they managed to remain so cohesive throughout the process (telepathy, maybe?). However, they did, and it shows. In addition to the unorthodox recording process, the group experimented with new sounds. This is probably the most striking difference between Rest and their previous records, and it marks a fundamental shift in the group’s sound. Relying more heavily on string arrangements and piano than ever before, Gregor Samsa have crafted a more subdued, yet sophisticated tone. Although the tone is different, the M.O. remains the same. The slow-rolling melodies for which the septuplet is known have been perfected on Rest.

"The Adolescent" introduces the album with humble plinking from a vibraphone, complimented by a clarinet. Soon, Nikki King’s vocals wash over a shore of piano and synthesizer. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album: patient, serious, beautiful and layered. In other words, it’s the perfect rainy day record.

Those prone to boredom may grow weary of Rest, but those with a lengthier patience will find it a beautiful, ultimately rewarding disc. A | Glen Elkins

RIYL: Mum, Mogwai for grownups, Explosions in the Sky

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