WITH one fully acclaimed record of super-atmospheric, haunting psych-folk under their belts – 2019’s Ascension, for FatCat – and also having spent a couple of years rebuilding an 18th-century farmhouse deep in Wales, Rebecca Rose Harris and Franklin Mockett, the couple who record as Samana, decided to journey elsewhere, bring fresh perspective to their aesthetic, begin to see how a new record might look from there.
Thus, they filled their car with a choice of instruments, a tape machine and headed to France for three weeks. Twenty-one days away in which to begin a new chapter. The date? Early last year.
By the end of week one they faced a choice that no one could have entertained not so long before: get home before the borders closed – like, right now; or stay and ride it out in France.
They chose the latter and kept creating, which deep immersion led to a new album, All One Breath, which is due for release early next year.
“We were guided by the pulse and narrative of each song as it came into fruition,” they say of that time; “be that as a subconscious improvisation, or as a deep reflection and rumination on a dream. All One Breath feels to be more of an archipelago than that of a single world or landscape.”
Much of the material on All One Breath was either improvised or a direct and instantaneous response to the Gallic landscape of hills and forests which they found themselves exploring. Here, bathe in this first postcard from that lockdown sojourn, “The Beach”. You’ll find the video below.
“[It’s] a song that encompasses expansion,” Rebecca and Franklin say. “It is an interpretation of empty space; a walk upon a shoreline that stretches in between our waking consciousness and the liminal space of dreams.”
And it has that quality that is so Samana. It unfolds at a leisurely, narcotic pace, acoustic chords a subtle earthing for Rebecca’s deep dulcet lyric and lazy, psychedelic guitar touches. It’s the sound of a hot July day with crickets humming, some hitherto unvisited medieval church in the distance; the smell of ozone and gunmetal clouds gathering in the distance, threatening to break the lazy heat.
For me they create a music almost entirely of themselves; the only artists working nearby I can think of is the pre-Mazzy Star outfit of David Roback and Kendra Smith, Opal. And Samana seem to push beyond that into a different, more organic mystery.
The band have also announced a clutch of British dates for next spring, which are as follows; click through on the venue for tickets and more information.
Monday, March 21st, 2022, Bristol, The Crofters Rights;
Tuesday, March 22nd, Manchester, Gullivers;
Wednesday, March 23rd, London, Paper Dress Vintage;
Thursday, March 24th, Brighton, The Brunswick and
Friday, March 25th, Margate, Elsewhere.
Samana’s All One Breath will be released by The Road Records/Music For Heroes on January 28th, 2022 digitally and on vinyl; it will be also be available as an extremely limited (400 only) Dinked edition.