Ever since I first heard Samuel's debut EP, Falling Star I was hooked. Here was a very fresh, very haunting new voice seeping into the music world. The EP was produced by Okzharp (of London-based outfit LV) and paired Samuel's aching vocals with a futuristic post-R&B sort of sound to a stunning degree of hypnotic clarity – though his voice, both then and now, feels as if it transcends any association with "dat future bass". Just like Samuel as a person, his voice is unique.
So thankfully this rare voice, this anti-commonplace set of vocal chords and their unconventional owner, is back for your ears to enjoy, beaming themselves into a new morsel of music called 'These Days'. Produced by London producer Kwes, it's a different sound to the type that graced the Falling Star EP – the cold, glacial, future-forward sounds are gone. However, the minimalism, which basically translates to the producer's careful consideration with Samuel's voice, is still there.
The production is bright, summerful and sunny, soft and soothing synth chords cushioning the vocals, with pockmarking plunks of bass left to peddle their simple subtleties below the meandering croons of Samuel rather than rumbling in-your-face. Clusters of homemade-sounding DIY-esque percussion clink and clankle in the chorus alongside shakers and the lonely thud of a kick as Samuel sings the cryptic hook, "These days are brighter than the sun, so tell me what you want / tell me what you want" – a sentiment reflected in the dripping innocence of this heat-warped music.
What else is good about this? The soaring vibe, the delicious synth sounds, the whole atmospheric, far-off feeling, the spirit of new romance, the deepness of the vocals coated in rich textures snaking through this cloud of production like a lone bird hovering silhouetted against vast blue, or even a the fleeting glint of a passenger plane caught by shards of sunlight amidst nonchalant clouds as it flies lonely and steady out of sight.
- Please feel free to pre-order 'These Days' from Ninja Tune online shop (the Ninjashop) – or from Bandcamp. It gets released on 31st July via Ninja Tune subsidiary Big Dada.