Single Reviews: 13 April 2023: Daniel Luke, Samatha, Aarktica, The Saddest Day, Tom Jobus

Photo by Barthelemy de Mazenod 

Daniel Luke - Chatterbox


Dublin-based composer Daniel Luke deals in straightforward solo piano compositions that are quick, airy, and in search of beauty, as evidenced on his recent single "Chatterbox," which segues from merry-go-round-like nausea to a more classically beautiful ostinato, all in under two minutes. Formerly of the band Gypsies on the Autobahn, Luke recorded this new single on the piano of his childhood home in Cabra, with his brother engineering the session. This is the second single to be taken from the upcoming debut album Shadow Dance, which comes out May 5th.

Samatha - Fading Memories 


Belgian ambient composer Gert Stockman releases his strange and intoxicating music under the nom de plume Samatha. His recent single, "Fading Memories," explores the fickleness of human experience with minimal piano and maximal soundscapes. The instrumentation is delicate and translucent, yet the overall vibe of the track is foreboding and ominous, creating a sense of anticipation. Samatha's ability to blend contrasting elements results in a strangely alluring listening experience.

Aarktica - Like Embers


The ambience and textures of "Like Embers," a single taken from LA-based producer Aarktica's album , We Will Find The Light, are so well assembled that you will barely notice the main melody that is hidden under the track's beguiling wall of sound. But the harmonic richness and melodic strength of this song are there, buried in the corners, subliminally burrowing their way into the conscious as you listen, leaving one with a sense of calm curiosity and an admiration for the mysterious veils of perception that blur our vision of the truth of existence.

The Saddest Day - Broken Crutch


Some truly horrifying sounds are coming out of Indiana, by way of slacker/experimental artist Glenn Smith, A.K.A The Saddest Day, formerly of the band NASCENT. Having such a miserably hyperbolic name is mirrored in Smith's dark music, which searches for optimism in the dark, a kind of contradiction present in his music, where highly distorted instruments are layered on top of industrial percussion and low-in-the-mix vocals that are nearly impossible to make out. Regardless, there's a wonderful sense of exploration to his recent single "Broken Crutch," which has plenty of pretty sentiments buried under its uncompromising brutality. This single is taken from the artist's recent album The Darkness is Glowing, though according to the artist, he has a whopping nine albums completed and ready to be released. Watch this space.

Tom Jobus - (Après l'orage) Cent


A self-confessed hermit living in the historical region of Auvergne in France, Tom Jobus has been assembling works for the piano since 2001. At a rate of one piece a month, Jobus has clocked up an impressive 300 pieces, which he is now just gearing up to release. Taken from the EP Post, "(Après l'orage) Cent" is a stunning piece of solo piano that has a rolling quality to its emotive playing. Driven by romance and a nostalgia for the simple life, Jobus' composition delivers a sense of hope and joy to the listener through melodies that constantly look for ways to ascend. The piano here is helped along with subtle production techniques and various sounds, like wailing synthetic strings and gentle, barely-there percussion.