Take one part early Lamb and two parts Juliana Barwick and a pinch of Mandalay sprinkled on top and that’s as close as I can get to introducing Searmanas to you. Her electronic duality means she’ll be smashing out a harsh percussive beat or something really abstract with half her instrumentation but then being calming and soothing with the other half. It’s where this mix merges together in the middle that Searmanas lives and it’s a wonderful place to be.
Her self-titled release kicks off with the harsh drums and vocal snippets of “Phonetics” which has a soothing keyboard mess behind all the angry harshness. It’s an apt way to kick off the release as things will only get weirder over time. “Liberosis” is an ambient industrial piece. Heavy buzzings and mechanical loops chug away whilst warped synths decay over the top of it. It feels dystopian but also 80’s and leads effortlessly into “Nodus Tollens”. The track itself sounds like a bee is having a fit and then being possessed in one section whilst chopped up vocal loops are running so fast and distorted through guitar noise they form the keyboard swirl of chords underneath. The track is always pulsing electro-kickdrums that feel like underwater heartbeats. It’s such a strange piece but I found it entrancing as the grizzly distortion of noise grew louder and angrier until its practically a post-rock shoegaze bleed out. Returning to ethereal electro-pop “Undo” is the crystal clear single of the album. Searmanas’ voice is beautiful and unwavering as she sings out over the trip-hop beat and gentle keyboard samples. It’s a chillout track straight from Mandalay’s style with a hint more demon. It moves us into the sci-fi “Crystalised” which over its seven-minute duration moves from a calming glassy synth to sounding like the crystal itself is being mined out of the sky before returning back to something more glassy and melodic. “Page 1” is a curious number that merges the softest of vocal ooh’s and calls which have been turned down in volume to a hush, alongside reed-like synths that repeat a downward motif. It feels a little like Phillip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack to me and that’s no bad thing. Again, I found such a simple piece entrancing and the album finishes off with “Sea” which takes everything we’ve had before it and rounds it into an almost standard song again although the vocals are disembodied and floaty.
Searmanas’ album is full of creativity and unique weirdness. Undo shows that she could clearly write and sing much more straightforward pieces of music but the rest of the album shows she’s not prepared too. if you enjoy creepy ambient and haunted vocal riffs then you’ll lap this up but just be wary that the single itself is not representative of the album at all. If you come for chilled out electronica, you may be disappointed but if you can let this album in, you’ll be whisked away to another world.
Recommended track: Nodus Tollens