A Fresh Response
For his sixth album, Samurai, French producer/DJ Joakim has left his typical realm, which melds disco and rock, branching out into something a little odder. He released the album single “Numb” as a makeup tutorial video parody and the rest of the album delivers on this same theme of weirdness.
Samurai opens with the appropriately named intro “In the Beginning,” pulling the listener in with its air of whimsy, which plays into a nautical theme. There is enough drive behind the music to keep it energetic, but it never goes overboard to become overly intense, giving it just the right level of anticipation to gel with the rest of the LP. The title track follows, changing the course of the album to a mellower, almost calming vibe. A new influence appears: jazz, as the lyrics wistfully conjure up thoughts of someone that will never be had. “Numb” follows and the juxtaposition against the sound heard on earlier songs builds upon the strange atmosphere that was established when the single was released earlier this year. These darker overtones add yet another layer to the album’s fabric, and “Late Night New City” merely continues this theme. Though relatively short, the addition of smooth jazz is yet another winding turn for the album to take. Finally, we end on “Hope Patience,” a refreshingly organic note, though still filled with the glitch pop sounds that have largely defined the album up to this point.
Samurai acts more as an experimentation in sound development than anything else. There is no cohesiveness to the songs as a whole unit and there is no end goal to the album. However, as individual pieces, Samurai‘s tracks each fulfill their own realization and entitlement. Due to this, every number has the opportunity to reawaken listeners with each shift. In that sense, Samurai comes off as more than successful.