The Sampler

Tuesday 21 April 2015, with Nick Bollinger & Kirsten Johnstone

The Sampler: Laura Marling, Sufjan Stevens, Kiasmos

Laura Marling

Nick Bollinger reviews a new album from the prolific Laura Marling, and an electronic suite from Icelandic electronicists Kiasmos, while Kirsten Johnstone discusses a stripped-back and personal set from Sufjan Stevens.


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Short Movie by Laura Marling

Nick Bollinger reviews a new album from the prolific Laura Marling.


Short Movies by Laura Marling album coverShort Movie, Laura Marling (Universal)

Laura Marling released her first album when she was just eighteen, and it presented a restless young singer-songwriter, aware of the tradition yet already asserting her own voice.

Now twenty-five, her fifth album features more of her powerful acoustic guitar picking and strong melodic songs, but also ventures into electric territory and a semi-spoken vocal delivery, showing that she is still restless and getting more daring every time.

Songs featured: Howl, Warrior, Short Movie, I Feel Your Love, False Hope, Strange, Gurdjieff’s Daughter, Sorry, Worship Me.

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Carrie And Lowell by Sufjan Stevens

Kirsten Johnstone discusses a stripped-back and personal set from Sufjan Stevens for The Sampler


Carrie and Lowell by Sufjian Stevens album coverCarrie And Lowell by Sufjan Stevens (Asthmatic Kitty)

North American songwriter Sufjan Stevens has released his most heartbreaking set of songs yet.

Carrie And Lowell deals with the death of his mother in 2012, though she left Sufjan’s life a lot earlier. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, and struggling with substance abuse and depression, she  left when Sufjan was one.

He leaves the orchestral excesses and exuberant electronic outbursts of his previous albums behind behind, with just acoustic plucking, hushed choruses and soft atmospherics giving the lyrics the space they need to weave Sufjan Stevens’ personal mythology.

Songs featured: Death With Dignity, Should Have Known Better, Fourth Of July, The Only Thing, My Blue Bucket Of Gold.

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Kiasmos by Kiasmos

Nick Bollinger reviews an electronic suite from Icelandic electronicists Kiasmos for The Sampler


Kiasmos Kiasmos album coverKiasmos, Kiasmos (Erased Tapes)

Kiasmos, the Icelandic duo of Olafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen, write and perform with synthesisers and drum programmes, augmented by the occasional acoustic piano, live strings or percussion.

What distinguishes their self-titled debut from so much downbeat electronica are the little sonic events – at times almost comic - that grab your ear and hang on. It is not demanding, which might be what makes it so refreshing.

Songs featured: Lit, Held, Swayed, Burnt

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Coming Up on The Sampler

7:30 pm Tuesday 28 April: The Sampler

Nick Bollinger reviews an epic live set from indie roots rockers Phosphorescent and the dance-pop of Swedish Malawian duo The Very Best, while Melody Thomas says hello – and goodbye – to Seattle seven-piece Rose Windows.