by Galen Chuang ‘17
Assistant Arts Editor
Arkomo is the debut solo project of Seattle musician Sam Anderson, best known as the cellist in Seattle’s darling indie-folk band Hey Marseilles. Currently in his early 20s, Anderson has already toured extensively with folk acts such as Damien Jurado and Brian John Appleby, and performed with Weezer, The Head and the Heart, and Sea Wolf. Classically trained, Anderson began violin at three, mandolin at six and later picked up cello. He also discovered a passion early on for producing by using his father’s eight-track, and produced Hey Marseilles’ most recent album “Lines We Trace.”
The result of Anderson’s work is a crisply designed nine-track album that could be likened to Baths, Bibio and Gold Panda. Songs off “Ace Imagery” are synthetically layered, rhythmically fascinating, and harmonically unpredictable. Yet Anderson’s upbringing in the folk-dominated Puget Sound and his classical influences are still clearly heard, especially in his crooning vocals and certain acoustic elements. The clean string plucks in “Dirty Flag” and clear bowed notes in “Full” could have been taken from a Hey Marseilles album.
More experimental songs such as “Congratulations” and “Pond” play with clipped vocal lines, combining them with dissonant shifting chords. It is through these songs that Anderson showcases his original ideas and ear for uncommon sounds. Yet he still knows the anatomy of a classic track; hooks in “Scene Too” and “Dirty Flag” are unexpectedly catchy without being cliché. His lyrics, too, are not the kind found in the overdone, nostalgic indie-rock song, but serve as a way into the mind of Anderson.
Although Anderson reveals his unique style of songwriting through “Ace Imagery,” a weakness of the album is that it flows almost too well. Besides a few standout tracks, there are many songs with homogenous rhythmic and instrumental elements. Regardless of any minor flaws, the beginnings of Arkomo look highly promising.
“Ace Imagery” is now available at http://www.whoopingcranerecords.com/.
Galen Chuang is a first-year interested in studying computer science and music. She plays violin and Ultimate Frisbee.