[reviews] afe075lcd
sam & valley: stupid love or smart laugh

slurp []
magazine, italy, october 2007

The project Sam & Valley saw daylight for the first time in 1995, when Alex de K, working with a Japanese punk band, met Special And Max in Tokyo. From the happy encounter came a disc published by nothing less but The Aphex Twin label, Rephlex. Followed by other three albums and then, from 2000, silence.

Fashions passed, trends changed and the group retained, perhaps satisfied by how much they achieved with the project. Then, this year, 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from being catalogued by a label independent as much as refined called Afe Records, a collection of material of an unpublished period compiled together with the band, fishing in the archive with careful attention and taste, from never published compositions. The result is surprising for being contemporary and timeless. Thanks to the expert choice operated and to the great ability of the group composing impeccable, easygoing pieces.

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.

The work is opened with "Angelika Koehlermann" in tribute of a homonymous Viennese label, and then, piece after piece, the album effuses his compositions from juke box gone crazy, as if a flipper suddenly developed an actual competitive own will and improvises continually new and unsuspicious jingles from its overheated circuits. As an example a piece called "Apple", 40 irresistible seconds of innocence and electronic. Followed by a splendid "Rebirth", an instrumental composition with a taste of the 90s that manages to surprise even today with its anticipation of groups such as Royksopp and others: fictional and imagined landscapes, integrated by voices samples and carried out so that they are placed temporally but don't loose any of its charm.

Another piece that deserves two words is "Heigh Ho! Says Anthony Rowley", in which Republica meets Vive La Fete for a little football game with Stereo Total while Cibo Matto jump the cord. A modernised musical operation that reminds us of the 90s which is often mentioned lately, they weren't only a recovery of the 70's pop rock; neither only rave and acids, but were also and perhaps above all boisterous fun and in search for something new. It's been a while now, that we understood, that the new can only be found in a past, more or less coming up, which contains all the chromosomes of what tomorrow will be.

"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.

[Carlo Zambotti]