Introducing Sameka, as the title eludes to, is the debut album from the German band of the same name. Released on the German label Mons Records, the album contains mostly original compositions written by the bands founder Simon Zauels along with an arrangement of the Herbie Hancock composition “Actual Proof”.
The music has its roots in the Jazz-Rock and Fusion tradition yet at the same time it looks forward by integrating oriental sonorities. A strong example of this can be heard in the song “Oriental Dance” where you can fully appreciate the remarkable balance between modernity and oriental soundscapes. When I first listened to this track I could almost visualize the dance as the largely rubato into develops into a strong groove propelled by the Zauels’ bass pulse.
I enjoyed the manner in which a number of unusual instruments such as the Aerophon and the Oud have been incorporated thereby expanding the soundscape as well as forming a melting pot of acoustic and electric sounds. From a rhythmic point of view the rhythms are often very complex yet as a listener all feels quite natural and fluid.
I found the song “ Dark Horse” a wonderful example of this approach where the strong pulse is always present yet still contains a great deal of space and a wide range of dynamics. In this context the space created provides room for a number of strong solo’s featuring the sophisticated language of Daniel Buch on saxophone and drummer Tobias Frohnhöfer, who lays down an intriguing solo under the relentless unisono riff provided by the bass and guitar.
Looking at the albums bookends, the opening track, Herbie Hancock composition, “Actual Proof” is the only non original composition. This track is a strong opener featuring a bass groove that seems to channel a strong Jaco Pastorius influence. Both pianist Antoine Spranger and Simon Zauels deliver impressive solos here. The closing track “Turtur” is another great tune that once again features a mix of elements. There is a great deal going on in this track both from a rhythmic and melodic perspective. As a guitarist myself I particularly enjoyed Patrick Baumann’s solo and specifically his sound.
In my opinion, this band is explosive, technically impeccable and able to deliver extremely complex concepts without the music sounding at all contrived. Personally I would have preferred to have heard a little more space in the arrangements that would have provided more of a contrast to the rhythmic complexity however this does not at all detract from the quality of this release.
I highly recommend this album. Rarely have I heard an album in this genre that excels in terms of originality and personal vision in the way this album does. There is deep respect of the tradition yet at the same time a high degree of originality. I am positive that we will be hearing more about Sameka in the future.
1. Actual Proof | 2. Amoniti | 3. Sameka | 4. Oriental Dance | 5. The Bog | 6. A Dark Horse | 7. Turtur
Simon Zauels, Bass | Antoine Spranger, Piano | Patrick Baumann, Guitar | Tobias Frohnhöfer, Drums | Daniel Buch, Saxophone, Aerophon | Hesham Hamra, Oud
Release Date: 4 March 2022
Label: Mons Records
New Release Spotify Playlist
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Last modified: July 8, 2022