Samantha Bouquin – Contemplations On Solitude And Strings – EP Review
Let it be known that I’ll happily listen to anything that comes my way from the Mythical Records label…this is a crew that absolutely knows their stuff and always ends up with highly unique, vibrant and versatile artists that have incredibly imaginative sounds. They brought us mystical & exotic sounds of Rasplyn in 2014…soon after we discovered the atmospherically-inclined music of The Synthetic Dream Foundation in 2015…and now back again after what I now realize to be far, far too long – Mythical Records have released the immaculate music of composer Samantha Bouquin here in 2017.
There is quite frankly, so much to love about this music from the insightful way it’s arranged and sounds to the sparkling production values that make the soundscapes truly come alive. “Contemplation #1” begins the experience with a mix of haunting melancholy that sticks right to your bones. I’m a huge fan of music like this…surround yourself with beautiful things & sweetened thoughts and you’ll hear the melody and sentiment; surround yourself in a colder & darker environment and you’ll hear the magnificently expressive and bone-chilling, eerie-emotion in the atmosphere. To me…this immediately hits a homerun…”Contemplation #1” sounds like the perfect contrast between the wicked & wonderful – a truly otherworldly experience that’ll take you right out of your own and into the vivid imagination at the heartbeat of Samatha’s music. You can easily hear the amount of passion and talent a song like this takes and the clever twists that Bouquin is experimenting with inside the realm of string quartet music. From the ear-tingling moments in the deep character established in the background elements to the stunning sound of strings laced within – “Contemplation #1” sets you adrift into your thoughts completely as you hear music that’s meant to be experienced, not just heard.
“Contemplation #2” takes on a more pronounced & dramatic melody-line in the strings with the surrounding atmosphere seems to whisper and close in around you even further. Quite honestly, Samantha is sounding straight-up magical – she’s got this music she makes labeled as ‘experimental’ but I assure you, she certainly sounds like she knows exactly what she’s doing. “Contemplation #2” really has gorgeous moments that pipe-up around the two-minute mark and forward, but the entire length of the track really sparkles with a dark & deep brilliance to its sound. All of the songs on this record do. It’s damn near impossible to put this kind of music into words…it grows and swells like the feelings and emotions inside you do. The way a song like “Contemplation #2” is designed to float along and blow through your speakers like the wind shows the incredible insight and instincts of an artist that really understands how to get the very most out of the atmosphere and out of the moment.
While there are definitely common threads that exist in the atmospheres, sounds and songs of Contemplations On Solitude And Strings – each of these tracks contains its own extraordinary dimensions like a multi-universe. “Contemplation #3” does an exceptional job of bringing the beauty of the strings back to earth with what sounds like crashing waves off in the distance as the sun begins to break on a brand-new day. As with all of Samantha’s songs, so it would seem, the subtle infusion of melody is always there & accompanied by various other aspects of the atmosphere to create a wonderful collage-style of sound that keeps its key elements shifting throughout the mix, coming and going like we hear in the waves washing up on shore in the background.
Most impressively, what I liked about Contemplations On Solitude And Strings from Samantha Bouquin was that it really does let your mind drift, wander and reflect on life as you listen. Of course it follows that some days are going to appeal to that feeling more than others…but on days like those, the music she makes offers a therapeutic importance that you just won’t get with many other artists or bands. Case in-point…and not to make this review become any more somber in tone purposely…but my grandmother died this morning at the age of 94…and really this was the perfect record to have listened to after receiving that saddening news. I needed to think…I needed to clear my head…I needed to busy myself within the work I love most to pre-occupy my mind…and then I stumbled upon this record and those thoughts & emotions seemed to come more clearly…they became welcome…comforting. The music on this EP was as soothing as it was stunning to listen to…and it allowed me to both escape my own thoughts completely, or dive right into their depths in effort to sort them out once & for all.
So I’d like to say a personal thank-you to Samantha Bouquin…she’s not only made an absolutely terrific & unique record – but she’s personally helped set my own mind at ease and allowed my thoughts to untangle as I unburdened myself as I listened. These ‘contemplations’ were exactly what I needed right now…they calmed me down, kept me enchanted & captivated as I listened & cleared my head.
To lighten it up a bit here at the end…I should probably point out that there would be a great many times where I’d want to listen to something as different and stunning as this – it doesn’t just apply to my current scenario and state of mind. It goes far, far beyond that and into music that is brilliantly captivating, experimental and stocked full of texture, emotion and atmosphere. You won’t find any ‘hits’ here…and that’s a great thing in my books…Samantha’s making her music for the pure art, beauty and joy she finds within her expressive creativity and those that ‘get it’ will absolutely love what the results of her passion sound like here on Contemplations On Solitude And Strings. I loved this entire EP.
Like I was saying…this is a label that has a serious grip on sound and what’s unique. I’ve been loving everything I’ve heard come out from Mythical Records and that certainly applies to the music of Samantha Bouquin – this was an exquisite and extraordinary journey in sound.
Find out more about Samantha Bouquin at her official homepage: http://www.samanthabouquin.com/
Find more music from Mythical Records at Bandcamp here: https://mythicalrecords.bandcamp.com/