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Samarkande / Oblivion Ensemble – Samarkande / Oblivion Ensemble

Samarkande / Oblivion Ensemble - Samarkande / Oblivion Ensemble

CD-R, Samarkande Records / Static Signals, 2007
www.oblivionensemble.com / www.samarkande.ca

Sometimes we are being sent CD’s and we don’t know what to expect at all. When we get to listen we can be fully surprised by its beauty, without ever having heard of a project’s name. And this split-release by the projects Samarkande and the Oblivion Ensemble is such an example.
The CD was made to celebrate two performances the bands did in january 2007, in Rochester, NY and Montreal, QC. They both created one long track for this short self-released CD-r in a limited edition of 100 copies. Of those 100 copies a few are left and they are now available through amonst others the website from Oblivion Ensemble
The first track comes from the Canadian Samarkande. Eric Fillion and Sylvain Lamirande hail from Montreal and even though they released a couple of CDs before this, they remain quite unknown. I was given a copy of one of their albums (”) from a friend in Montreal and already then I was pleasently surprised by their sounds. Their track can best be described as a bleakish soundscape with droney parts, some ambient and IDM-like rhythmic influences.
Samarkande’s ‘fondation .02’ consists of some very nice noises without a really recognisable background. Mesmerizing vocal samples leave you in a trance.
“… any captive apes or monkeys that die here can contribute to scientific research … ”
The track from Oblivion Ensemble is far more experimental in nature. It probably isn’t surprising is you know that next to Oblivion Ensemble’s founding member John Bergstromone we find the name of Brannon Hungness, who used to be a member of Glenn Branca’s ensemble.
At some point you can hear plucked strings from a guitar – at least, I think it’s a guitar – and while musically the track as a whole is much less structured as the Samarkande track, the use of vocals create a much more uneasy mindsetting. The poetic title says it all: “i fall, sound[in]g her dream”.
A very well done release in honour of their concerts together. One can only dream of having been there.


— Bauke van der Wal

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