Gregor Samsa: Rest

With a feeling similar to Mùm, Eno’s Music For Films period, or whatever super-consonant ambient act you best identify with, Rest is an audio haze, like trying to make out the terrain of a foggy valley from a clear mountaintop. All the edges are rounded, only a chiming piano, some toms, and violin punching through the ne’er-discordant tracks. Even the voices of Champ Bennett and Nikki King’s chanting vocals are often mumbled or whispery.

There’s a slight arch to Rest—the album’s second half, roughly cut right in the middle of the fifth song, “Jeroen Van Aken,” is moodier in comparison to the rest. But more interestingly, it’s less dependent on mere dynamic change for building tension. It creates these fleeting moments that are essential to any great ambient listen, in the tradition of Satie. “Rendered Yards,” barely over two minutes, is the standout moment here. “Pseudonyms” and “First Mile, Last Mile” follow through in that style as well, which when compared to early tracks, “The Adolescent” or “Ain Leugh,” sound far more developed.

It’s a very fine line, and there’s almost nothing on Rest to disagree with on its own, but pit against itself, Rest shows some of Gregor Samsa’s great strengths and weaknesses.

In A Word: Mist