On a frozen lake located somewhere in The Netherlands, SAMSQN carves into untouched sheets of ice, creating an echo of crackles and freshly awoken sounds. In such organic symphony, nature is the maestro of frequency; the ice skater only exists as the catalyst to deploy it. With such curious sounds coming from nature’s wonders, it’s hard not to draw inspiration from each. For the Amsterdam-based artist, inspiration doesn’t just come from being the catalyst of sound, but the primal feeling of driving it, at least partly.
In his latest 8-tracks EP released under the N F E R E E imprint, SAMSQN describes a creative process derived from experiences, as various as a sensation on the ice for “Otherworldly sound”, a loss of freedom during the pandemic crisis for “Demise”, an emotion felt while watching a Boiler Room for “JCB” and an intense week of work for “80 Hours”. Whether it’s ice-skating on a frozen lake or spending a night listening to a fellow techno artist, one thing remains common among all the tracks: they are created based on the “feeling” of each activity, not the “sound” they produce. Where many artists attempt to recreate ice breaking, SAMSQN is more focused on the primal feeling of causing it to crack.
Beginning with the first track, “Otherworldly Sounds,” this is exactly what SAMSQN accomplishes. The listener might expect sharp atmospheres and cold percussion in a track inspired by frozen lakes, however the production offers a warm and denser approach to mimic the tranquility of the experience. Including distant vocals and the occasional – naturally occurring – laser sound of ice separating from itself, “Otherworldly Sounds” succeeds its immersion into a peaceful environment, reaffirmed later in the quiet closing ambient track “Grayson Lake”.
“Demise” slowly arises the tension as lived during the dreadful year of 2020’s pandemic, and invokes a feeling of impending doom with flat atmosphere, dystopian accents, and dark turns.
In “JCB”, inspired by Etapp Kyle’s percussive and atmospheric 2018 Boiler Room, the listener sinks into the pulses created by efficient unwavering kick drums. The background atmosphere carries each kick along to give the sensation that it’s guided, despite not wanting to chug along. “JCBB”, with an emotion first restrained before being unleashed into a phenomenal eerie dimension, is maybe more than what SAMSQN announces – “a groovier jungle vibe version of JCB”.
“80 Hours” somehow sounds like a dynamic version of “Chemosynthesis” by Luigi Tozzi – maybe closer to Claudio PRC’s rework – and cleverly translates the alienating professional life, sustained by the repetitive clip and by an impactful bass beat, turning the track into an effective dance floor gem.
Around these central pieces gravitate two outstanding remixes: one from Amsterdammer Garden of Edann, who created an electrifying version of “Otherworldly Sounds,” and one from Hungarian CVRDWELL, who added an industrial and experimental twist to “80 Hours.”
With such a range of quality sounds and the inspiration they are drawn from, SAMSQN’s release impresses. The audience will for sure captures the emotions coming out of the artist’s personal invocations, without necessarily linking them to the same experiences: SAMSQN played with the senses and by that opened rich fields of interpretation, for a journey to feel more than to see.