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Audio CD, May 13, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

In their third full-length album, Gregor Samsa takes a new approach to composition, both in process & instrumentation. The result is Rest; nine pieces composed over e-mail during the course of nine months by key members. In Rest, GS expand on their affinity for minimal, classical instrumentation mixed with mangled & manipulated sound through integration of new instruments such as the celesta, clarinet, classical voice & vibraphone. Along with these new sounds, guitar has been almost entirely replaced by piano, whose parts were recorded on a rare B?sendorfer once owned by Philip Glass. These pieces demonstrate a shift in focus to harmony, restraint & the use of muted tones, while less interest is taken in the large dynamic shifts that once carried the weight of many of their compositions.

1. The Adolescent
2. Ain Leuh
3. Abutting, Dismantling
4. Company
5. Jeroen Van Aken
6. Rendered Yards
7. Pseudonyms
8. First Mile, Last Mile
9. Du Meine Leise

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 13, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kora Records
  • ASIN: B0017VG2V2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,236 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JMiller72 on August 18, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Clocking in at almost 50 minutes, Rest is Gregor Samsa's second and latest studio album. This (at the time) seven-piece band from Virginia have often been described as "post-rock," though they eschew that label, and they could be more accurately described as having shoegaze and ambient influences. Regardless, they need no labels because this album speaks for itself, and its composition has an interesting back story. Because the band members live so far away, they batted around ideas via e-mail for weeks, reworking melodies and crafting lyrics bit by bit, before finally settling on a date to practice and then record the finished product.

Rest is an apt title for the new album, as long-time fans of Gregor Samsa will notice the more subdued sound. Fortunately, they haven't lost their old sound; they've just filled it out by combining it with the new. Most importantly, they retain their signature characteristics, including the dream-like soundscapes and the dual vocals of Nikki King and Champ Bennett. The guitar, synth, violin, piano and to a lesser extent, the drums, make their appearances throughout the album, especially the Rhodes piano, Nikki King's favored instrument.

Based on the album art and the lyrics, there seems to be a "lost at sea" theme to Rest. I don't want to spoil the lyrics too much for anyone who likes to be surprised when they first listen (like me!), so I'll try to describe the mood of the songs instead. The album starts off with "The Adolescent" and "Ain Leuh," two strong tracks that begin with shimmering sounds and vocals that evoke a sense of longing. A minor piano key and the drums feature next on "Abutting, Dismantling," which plods on a bit, followed by "Company," a short, ambient interlude with no vocals.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rifugium on November 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD
_Rest_ is a highly impressive new release from Gregor Samsa. As to be expected from this band, the music is extremely mellow and atmospheric, and at times very minimalist, characteristically providing a design that can't even remotely be considered "rock music." The vocals are a righteous balance of hushed male and fragile yet graceful female. The music, simple as it may seem, is highly textured and carefully assembled, and includes an elaborate assortment of instruments including strings, horns, synths, and vibraphones, all of which interact in a seemingly endless variety of ways throughout the album. Guitars and percussion are present, but used very sparingly, and only where they prove to be musically logical. Musically speaking, it is an artistic triumph. Songs like "The Adolescent," "Ain Leuh," and "Jeroen von Aiken" show the band's talent to take a simple, plodding, repetitive melody and turn it into something wondrously meditative, drawing the attentive listener further and further in rather than causing a loss of interest. It's hard to identify specific highlights within the album, because it's hard to view the songs as individual pieces. They each tell a different story and yield a different musical accomplishment, yet they are all inseparable pieces of an entire musical journey. _Rest_ also features contributions from stylistic peers Toby Driver and Mia Matsumiya of Kayo Dot. I rate this 8.5/10 now, and that may climb a little higher with time.

*This is the second of a three-review collection of mine, featuring three albums of 2008 somewhat comparable in style, all featuring boy-meets-girl vocals, and each unique in its own right.
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