eLxAr "Samsara" Album Review
Genres, love them, hate them. They give people a label on what to expect from music, but everybody has a different idea about what that music actually should sound like.
You see when I like music, I care little about the musical flag it hoists into the sky. And this brings me to "Samsara" the new release from Elxar productions , an Italian Duo of Luka and Alex. It is a dreamy atmospheric album with a strong environmental message. Styled as synthwave or synthpop it offers something more than a lot of music wearing this type of hat.
"Wabi Sabi" starts with all the expected "Synthwave" cues but the clue of the purpose is in the slightly harsher harmonies and chords at the start. The music really does flow into a sweet, happy, synthy place. "Bliss in D" another instrumental, continues where the previous track was, but with a contrast between the harder tones of the tune and percussion and the softer background. There is a stately, Italian styled, beauty to this track.
"Ricorda" sung by Alex, in Italian, follows.
I am such a huge fan of Francesca Michielin, the Italian vocalist who entered Eurovision a few years ago but who sadly lost her way on a recent album. So its lovely to hear an emotional and gradually evolving song, sung in this expressive and musical language. The song itself would have been worthy of a place on an early FM album. Alex is gentle in her vocal delivery here and I can listen to these beautiful words, falling over themselves, until the grapes ripen on the vines.
"Golden Age "starts with a purposeful build of different textures of synth elements. It settles into a a cylindrical cats cradle, patterns of bubbling synths around a revolving circle of four chords that fade out and in as the track evolves.
And that brings us to the crowning moment of the album "The Void Within." I truly believe this is a masterpiece of a song. About how awfully we treat this world. It truly gives me shivers. Sharp lyrics and precise vocals perched upon a glass wall of shimmering synthesisers and.... absolutely astonishing.
Dreams never survive The void within makes us crave Control and rule above all things in life That is what we love to do We just don't care about our world We just don't care about others The void within rules us with chains All we care is feeding it well
"Framing" makes me think a bit of Daft Punk, as the BPM is up and you could dance to it. Its hard to make vocoders work in music and you either dig it, or not. But dig deeper for lyrics about the modern world of work and acquiring "things.."
"Should I go on" is almost up there with the "Void Within" as an album highlight. Again this is a lively piece, with Alex delivering a great chorus on this song. Lyrically sad but promising something better, musically, to me, anyway.
The album concludes with "All is quiet ( in the end)" which is perhaps a more upbeat closer than I expected. Alex appears as the vocalist and once again the lyrics tell the tale against the beautiful synth tones
Elxar have delivered a very well performed and cohesive album with a strong unity of subject message and musical identity.
The focus on the plight the Earth finds itself in and how we cause it to happen is delivered without lyrical cliche or threats to the listener. That this message is an iron hand in a velvety synth clad glove makes for the identity of Elxar.
I love the message, I love the way they expressed it, saying things, that need to be said.
I wish them both well and hope they get the success they truly deserve with this music. As with many things, the world should be listening. A solid 7/10