Born in Basel, Switzerland, Samuel Christen began to play the violin at the age of 8, but by the time he was 16 Samuel was playing the electric guitar due to his interest in rock music. He formed a band while at school, where he sang played the guitar, the bass, violin and also wrote most of the music. Life’s usual evolution, later separated the band, as his friends went to university and Samuel founded a family. He eventually moved to France with his family where he built a house and a home studio to feed his continued passion for music. Samuel Christen has now released his DIY debut CD, entitled “disappeared to be myself”. On this recording Samuel played all the instruments, as well as recorded and mixed the songs in his home studio.
Sonically dense, lush, beautiful and moody, Samuel Christen is hearkening back to a time when the concept of the “album” actually meant something – “disappeared to be myself” is a collection of gorgeous songs that works even more powerfully as a unified whole.
From the opening track, “Disappeared”, the mood is pensive, melodic, and yearning, which will provide great listening for my mellower deep thinking moments. Samuel’s music can be described as many things as he works with a large pallet of rock-orientated colors The overall picture is a sort of blend between Radiohead thoughtfulness, Jeff Buckley’s profound eclecticism, and early psychedelic Pink Floyd.
The songs are the kind that stays with you, abiding melodies throughout your day. The whole thing is like a sweet mantra of darkness, warmly enveloping us in its shadows. It takes us on a journey through the dark places of the countryside, on a morning walk under a cool canopy of trees where the smell of musk is intoxicating.
“disappeared to be myself” is obviously my first entry into the musical world of Samuel Christen. Ever since I found his music stream have been a daily listener and admirer of the complex yet simple arrangements.
These songs all work together to form a vast landscape of sounds and images, but mainly atmospheres. “Can’t even say my name” is very reminiscent of the Moody Blues with melancholy but gorgeously sung lyrics and outstandingly composed, and executed, guitar and string arrangements that will get under your skin and grab you.
The songs, their structure, the recoding quality of the instruments, and the overall structure of the production create an atmosphere that is very hard to find in modern music. Most artists want their music to bang you in the head and instantly capture your attention, whereas Samuel Christen attempts to mesmerize and slowly draw you into his musical experience.
It’s like embarking on a journey via terrestrial means rather than quick air transport – you get to see and savor all the interesting scenery along the way. Samuel’s music is an experience you don’t dive into, but rather immerse yourself in.
And what better way to do this than with ethereal jangling guitar experiences such as “Everything is everywhere” or the wistful “See the Sea”. The major highlights in this collection for me, has to be the falsetto sung “Beautiful Angel”, the heavyhearted “Dreaming for free” and the brilliant but somber album closer “No answer”, where Samuel uses doleful falsetto to great effect.
All in all it’s a very intimate recording that doesn’t overstay its welcome or try to over impress. It’s a lush and layered CD that continues to grow on the listener. If you’re looking for upbeat music or quick and obvious hooks, you aren’t going to find it here. This recording is a journey and it’s deep, with its concept and a cohesive sound.