Saturday, 6 January 2018

Review - Surma – Antwerpen

Surma – Antwerpen (Omnichord Records)

LP / CD / DL

Out Now

8 / 10

Portuguese solo artists releases debut album.   

Fans of Icelandic avant-rockers, Sigur Ros will probably love this album and that in itself is maybe good enough reason to sit down and give it a listen.  Surma is a 22 year old Portuguese solo artist who has created an inspiring alternative album in the form of Antwerpen. 

Swathed in some often beautiful instrumentation is moves from delicate puffs to huge banks of electro orchestration creating pieces which are completely enthralling and addictive.  Her voice often sounds childlike and on first listening slightly annoying, but give it time and allow the whole album to sink in and you’ll find yourself becoming completely immersed in what is a fine fine album.

Perhaps with hints of Bjork or fellow country folk Vaarwell, Surma finds herself relaying haunting and neo-ambient sounds from beginning to end not afraid to use unusual samples along the way.  In the same way that Sigur Ros make mysterious and gorgeous masterpieces so Surma appears to be following suit.  Each track is cleverly named in a different language adding mystery and unpredictability to proceedings.

With album opener Drög comes a hint of things to come – rising from nothing to a wonderful electro landscape that continues through the album.  Angelic voices and simple effects create a gorgeous end result.  Voyager adds sampled tribal vocals and almost becomes Moby-like before Surma squeaks in to add her own voice. 

Such is the quality of the work that Saag has the strength to stand alone as an inventive instrumental and Begrenset seems to be recorded live in an analogue format complete with a musical box clockwork sound.  Album closer Uppruni is like being lifted to another plain.

Antwerpen is a surprise.  Not because it’s so good but because of how addictive it is.  One listen will undoubtedly lead to another and then, another.  Each time you will unfold another layer of pure magic and heaven.  Quite simply - a lovely album.

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