Review: Saphileaum – Samosi


The sweeps of violet and white on the album cover are perfect, given that Samosi conveys the surreal magic of walking through clouds at high altitude. Reality softens under low oxygen, sunlight shatters into its prismic constituents across the mist, while the very act physical ascension is enough to raise the climber’s spirit along with it. Saphileaum states that the record is about a journey into the caucasian mountains toward a brotherhood of hermits called the “glorified wisemen”, who are allegedly in contact with the divine. Yet Samosi does not document the moment of meeting the wisemen and becoming enlightened. Instead, these clouds of soft, throbbing synthesisers – injected with the liminal rich hues of dawn and dusk – capture the giddy transcendence of the journey, billowing with optimism and possibility. Spiritual yearning, it seems, can be a more potent force than spiritual satiation.

Melodies are traced through the vapour. The chord sequences are charming on first appearance, yet eventually thicken into something more profound as they loop over four minutes or more. Some of the surrounding electronics yield to the melodic progression, nudged forward by the occasional tinkle of chimes or distant woodblock crack. Yet other synths hang in droning stasis, pulsing gently and crackling with distortion, as if mimicking the fog of fatigue and wonder that clogs the head of the seeker. The edges of the world melt into blurs and purees. Each thought is a downward slide into otherworldly daydreaming. There are field recordings here, such as running water and blooms of birdsong, yet despite their clarity they begin to sound like figments of a dimension other than this one. Everything about Samosi is delicate and cotton-soft from a textural standpoint, yet duration holds the key. After 35 minutes, the power of this quiet landscape starts to become vigorous and utterly persuasive.