7. Gregor Samsa – Rest

December 19, 2008


Gregor Samsa - Rest

The second studio album by post rock band Gregor Samsa states its condition with its front cover. Rest sounds like it is created by a single person who has been traveling for a long time in this landscape and as the sun goes down, stops in a single place (a place like, say, Ain Leuh, Morocco) for the night. While most all movement is stopped, what compels the traveler is still a concern. Their mind races, questions, laments, and seems ready to cave in on itself, and by midway through the album, we question the reality of this “rest,” as it seems as if the introverted narrator will never truly find it. They seems to grieve over their self as much as their condition, although it is perhaps not quite as unmanageable as Franz Kafka’s lifesize cockroach traveling salesman from which the band draws its name. Male and female vocalists sing lightly “it seems the devil’s got a grip on me” in the lengthy, segmented Jeroen Van Aken, named after the birthname of the fifteenth century Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch. As we can see, Gregor Samsa seem to be a culturally literate band, but their knowledge isn’t restricted to a couple artistic references. Gregor Samsa craft this album as carefully planned art. If anything, it resembles ancient art of the far east: it is minimalistic, acute, and utilizes the void in much the same way a wood block might, in that empty space seems to jut off forever outside of the music’s boundaries. The melodies are simple but quite memorable, and are more concerned with substance over style, but are not without their creative flourishes. What ultimately makes Rest such a successful venture is that it instead of forcing the listener in a particular direction as most post-rock seems to, Gregor Samsa makes the direction a gentle, irresistible suggestion, and for that reason we do not have a hard time becoming the traveller ourselves.

Gregor Samsa

Gregor Samsa

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