Comprised of Þórður Kári “Doddi” Steinþórsson (producton), Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir (clarinet) and Jófríður the Icelandic act Samaris have received national and international attention for minimalist electronic production paired with lyrics that drew from 19th century Icelandic poetry; however, after a year of touring to support their 2014 full-length debut Silkidrangar, the members of the band found themselves in a unique period of transition — Steinþórsson relocated to Berlin to take part in the city’s world renowned techno scene; Magnúsdóttir relocated to The Hague to study Sonology; and Ákadóttir has spent the past year wandering around to experience new places and the musical cultures within them. And as a result, the band’s latest effort Black Lights is reportedly less identifiably Icelandic than their previously released efforts; in fact, their latest effort finds the trio writing and singing English lyrics and pairing them with a sound that sounds both contemporary and highly global.
As the band’s Ákadóttir explains in press notes, the decision to write and record in English was arrived at rather quickly. “We started off laying down some gibberish while we were writing the melodies and then later fixed it into what made sense to us. We went away, all in separate directions and used our space in Toppstöðin, an old power plant in Reykjavík that’s now used for artist studios and offices, to continue to work on tracks. We were all confused in our love lives. Some had relationships that weren’t functioning, others were all over the place. That part hasn’t changed.” The album was finally pieced together atStudio Hljóðriti in Hafnarfjörður last summer — coincidentally during the period of nearly 24 hours of daylight. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “T4ngled” pairs Ákadóttir’s breathy and sultry vocals with a slickly modern and somewhat minimalist production consisting of skittering and stuttering drum programming and layers of wobbling and shimmering synths, and as a result while the song manages to be seductive, it possesses an underlying tenseness, which shouldn’t be surprising as the song lyrically describes a relationship that’s equally tense and uncertain and ruled by conflicted emotions and lust. Sonically, the song sounds as though it draws from Beacon‘s impressive output, BRAIDS‘ Flourish//Perish and Portishead — but slightly more accusatory and with a bruised heart.