REVIEW: SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT – “One With The Universe”
I thought it would only be appropriate that when discussing a band self-described as heady psych, or stoner rock for the rest of us, that I’d do it on the most sacred of heady holidays, 4/20. The bowls are loaded and the music is loud, there really is no better way to be on a beautiful day like today. At first glance I was honestly worried that Samsara Blues Experiment might be too light for my personal tastes, just preferring more of the heavier, drony type shit like Sleep or Bongripper for my stoner jams. But I’m not one to pass judgement too quickly, so after a good listen I think we have some something here.
The ‘One With The Universe’ is only five tracks, but all five clear at least six minutes with the longest going up to fifteen. I love nothing more than getting baked into a pot-and-taco pie and melting into the couch while listening to a half hour-long Gorguts track, but who always has that kind of free time? I think it would be dope to spend over an hour listening to Dopesmoker smoking dope, but I have to do adult things; like smoke dope and write this article. I will concede one point to these bands putting out the insanely long tracks however; I do think it is incredibly impressive when you can perform said tracks live. Even five minutes is a lot of music to come up with then remember much less fifteen minutes of it for just a single track. So I’m going to light another joint and get into this record for you guys.
The record starts off “Vipassana”, breaking out a chill surfer jam vibe. Out of nowhere comes a sitar and things get super spacey and psychedelic before dying back down into a calmer state. The chorus has a nice powerful presence to it that really drives the song along. At another point the sitar makes a reappearance and I feel like it won’t be the last we hear of it. Turns out the chorus, verse, and sitar bit just kinda loop for about ten minutes with a few minor variations in between.
The tracks are really well produced, which makes listening that much more enjoyable. Everything is clean and there is no audio dissonance where there shouldn’t be. I always love when the bass has a defined presence as well, I think it adds a lot of character to the music. The guitar playing is incredibly dynamic with great utilization of effects for building atmosphere. Vocals are pretty scarce, but when they do come around, they’re well done. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
“Glorious Daze” starts off mellow and easy; reminded me of an intro to a western movie for some reason, directed by Quentin Tarantino of course. It has a slow buildup, but eventually gets going into a harder rock sound with a nice groove. Over all it is a very easy song to listen to. At this point I think you can guess how the last track “Eastern Sun & Western Moon” is going to start. It’s honestly super strange to me to be reviewing music this mellow after doing nothing but the craziest, most ridiculous shit for years now. I’m used to music I can burn a church down to, something that makes me want to stuff my annoying neighbor in a meat grinder, music that moves you at a deep, visceral level. The reason I mention this is because I’m really glad this came across my desk. It made me aware of a lighter, more ethereal space of music I was previously aware of, but honestly did not particularly care for. It is a refreshing change of perspective and sound.
All in all I think ‘One With The Universe’ is a dope record made by some dope dudes. It’s a great record to throw on when you want to relax with some friends while smoking some jays. The album is very much psychedelic rock meets stoner rock, wrapped up nice and neatly. I was mellowed out almost too aggressively for my liking, which sounds like an oxymoron unless you’ve ever smoked copious amounts of the sticky icky before. So for more casual stoner rock folk, this album would be right up your alley. It’s time to go back to celebrating. Happy holidays you filthy animals.