1. Angelika Koehlermann 3:42
2. Let's Sing Your Song 1:57
3. Danny Boy 3:20
4. Heigh Ho! Says Anthony Rowley 4:42
5. Good-bye Song 2:38
6. Flow Out 3:50
7. If All the World 3:00
8. Level '0' 1:09
9. The Stars and Stripes 4:59
10. Geba Geba 72 2:07
11. Sing Sing 2:04
12. Jolly Red Nose 4:28
13. My Mother Said 3:56
14. Punch & Judy 2:59
15. Apple 0:41
16. Rebirth 5:21
17. Kang Ding Qing Ge 2:55
Well, we guess that "Stupid Love or Smart Laugh" is one of those releases that will quite surprise our Afecionados who only know us for our most extreme and experimental output.
Believe it or not, we have been enthusiast about Sam & Valley since their early days and we already had the great pleasure to collaborate with them at the time of the glorious "Teddy Bear Remix Project" back in 2002, when they provided two of the best remixes of the original Wolkspurz & Ramirez title track (...and Sam also made a lovely drawing for the TBRP box!).
Sam & Valley were born in 1995 when Alex de K, who was active in The Kazuyuchy, a japanese punk band, met Special and Max in Tokyo. They recorded many songs mixing their own extremely different tastes, defined their style as Unsuitable Rock and choose the Sam & Valley moniker to present their work to the world.
Four Sam & Valley albums were published between 1997 and 2000: "My Favorite Clinic", their debut, was notably released on Aphex Twin's Rephlex label, "Unsuitable Japanese" and "A Miracle Is Simple" were released on Angelika Koehlermann in Europe, while "Torso" was published by the canadian label Awhisp.
The project quit in 2003 leaving a lot of unreleased tracks behind them... Luckily The Afeman was granted access to part of their archive, so he picked up some favourites and compiled "Stupid Love or Smart Laugh" with them, hopefully bringing their music to the attention of old and new fans.
The disc starts off with the instrumental "Angelika Koehlermann", an obvious tribute to the cool Vienna label, which is followed by the cheesy melodies and Karaoke refrain of "Let's Sing Your Song", a Sam & Valley trademark song.
"Danny Boy" is nothing less than their rendition of the famous traditional Irish ballad and comes straight from "Grow Up To Be a Man of Good", an unreleased full album dedicated to the purity of childhood.
"Heigh Ho! Says Anthony Rowley" is the first S&V take on Techno that appears on the album. Its lyrics, samples and loops showcase their desire to introduce fun and laughter in such a serious genre.
is another fast and happy song whose japanese lyrics remain a mistery even for us...
"Flow Out" is a humourous instrumental based on 909 kicks, looped acid basslines and tons of samples coming straight from one of the most unfriendly operative systems ever appeared on Planet Earth...
"If All the World" soon follows delivering more acid, distorted / filtered percussions and trancy hooks.
is a short but effective arcade tune that serves as an introduction to the self-explanatory "The Stars and Stripes"... This is one of the oldest songs on the album, it features real double bass playing and a killer refrain.
"Geba Geba 72" is an obsessive track whose title is repeated in mantra-mode for all its duration...
"Sing Sing" and "Jolly Red Nose" are another couple of bizarre S&V songs based on antique english nursery rhymes and they are followed by "My Mother Said", another piece in the same vein whose lyrics are a mutation of a well-known scottish rhyme. A great tryptich!
"Punch & Judy" pays homage to the popular puppet show
of the same name with fake horns stabs and a beautiful melodic bridge, while - with its fortyone seconds - "Apple" is the shortest song on the album.
Opening with science fiction synth sweeps "Rebirth"
is probably one of the coolest instrumentals contained on "Stupid Love or Smart Laugh" and comes just before the closing "Kang Ding Qing Ge", a tibetan love song taken from the unreleased "Grow Up To Be a Man of Good".
The Sam & Valley difficult fifth album is here for you now: being able to release it is such a great satisfaction for us, we truly hope you will enjoy!
"Vorrei fare un esperimento: mettere questo disco ad una di quelle feste d'asilo di fine anno, quelle però senza i genitori, dove i bimbi sono lasciati liberi dalle maestre e se la girano in giardino tra dolcetti e bibite frizzanti...
Credo che loro apprezzerebbero parecchio questo insieme, perché nelle loro menti, ed in quelle di Sam & Valley, ancora forse più pure delle nostre, questa sarebbe una musica fresca, allegra, divertente."
"...emerging from being catalogued by a label independent as much as refined called Afe Records, a collection of material of an unpublished period compiled together with the band, fishing in the archive with careful attention and taste... Nothing of what you will hear in this disc is easily datable. We are in a type of temporary Bermuda triangle, between the 80s, 90s and today. Noman's-land, a parallel reality, a dimensional whirl impossible to grasp or even out, intelligence and cultural music accomplices of who made the album... "Unsuitable Rock" is the way in which Sam & Valley define their varied and elusive music, amusing and absolutely à la page in its being simultaneously "smart" and "stupid" outside of every diagram and genre. A musical splinter gone crazy."
"Alex De K. e Special & Max hanno già perlomeno quattro album alle loro spalle... Il progetto pare si sia interrotto nel 2003, ciò nondimeno Andrea Marutti ha potuto accedere agli archivi stipati ancora di una pletora di canzoni. Quelle tra l'art stupid pop (Good-bye Song), la fake electro (If All the World), l'exotica automatica, l'I.D.M. - idiot dance music - (Jolly Red Nose)... Sono stranemente ballabili "Heigh Ho! Says Anthony Rowley", "Flow Out", "Geba Geba 72" (tormentone potenziale) e "My Mother Said". Geniale davvero il funky hip hop per Frankenstein anni '80 di "Rebirth". Un vero non sense, nel giusto dosaggio per combattere la scemenza camuffata."
Blow Up [more]
"Sam & Valley don't take themselves seriously and their music is a stark reminder that music (and life) doesn't have to be serious, abstract or highbrow and that it can, quite simply, be fun. Opening with a simple instrumental, "Stupid Love or Smart Laugh" soon presents the listener with karaoke tracks, IDM-tinted ballads and nursery rhyme tracks, love songs and, naturally, techno tracks poking fun at the genre itself. All this without forgetting the occasional nods and winks aimed towards the geeks and nerds among us. Seemingly simple on the surface, certainly more thought and work went into the creation of tracks like "Heigh Ho! Says Anthony Rowley", "Punch & Judy" or "Flow Out" than it first appears..."
Connexion Bizarre [more]