Surfing Samsara, 2015
The cosmopolitan Lee Negin, originally from San Francisco, who was, for a while, living in Seoul, Korea but who has recently moved to Tokyo, has just released Surfing Samsara, a new album that is brimming with the enthusiastic electronic eclecticism. It is a compilation of eleven songs that have shown up on previous “singles” culled from his last few albums: his most recent one, the EP, Terminus, the soul-bending rave of Groundless as well as Negin’s wonderful “technopera”, The Cheeze Chronicles.
Surfing Samsara starts off with “Loan Me a Paradigm”, a groovy, funky, hypnogogic song found on The Cheeze Chronicles. A couple other songs from The Cheeze Chronicles that show up on Surfing Samsara are “Sterne Drek auf der Autobahn”, the infectiously groovy, quirky, robotic dance tune, “(Let’s Join) The Twit Parade” as well as “Just Saying…”, which, like, many of the songs on here show signs of Krautrock influence. All these electronic dance tracks mingle with captivating, serene hypno-jams. Another song that shows up on Samsara is “The Cheeze Spreads”, a song meant for, but, in the end, left off the final cut of The Cheeze Chronicles.
There is so much to like about Surfing Samsara that it’s hard to find a place to begin deconstructing it. The album certainly runs the gamut of musical styles: from spacey prog-rock, hypno-suites, to catchy robotic dance numbers, Japanese-inspired post-rock pop culture snapshots; textured atmospheres, a panoply of infectious grooves that get one up and moving around. “The Saga of Cheeze” has a great funk vibe to it, which is not at all out of place with the other songs (think of the futuristic, brilliant funk of George Clinton’s twin genius outfits, Funkadelic and Parliament and you’ll know what I mean).
Lee’s a busy guy, always making up new sounds and recording them for current release as well as a surplus for later works; a rich blend of international sounds, a rich blend of orgiastic, cosmopolitan, party-people themes. After getting this collection of tracks in to one seamless album, I hope Lee digs deep into his imagination and musical prowess for some new material. I’m confident he can pull it off and, once again, impress his legions of fans and that it won’t be too long before we hear the next amazing recording from Negin -KM.