Switched On – Sam Goku: Things We See When We Look Closer (Permanent Vacation)

by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

This is a second album for the Munich-based, Chinese-German musician Robin Wang, who records under the name Sam Goku.

Goku is reaching a lot of admirers, his eclectic approach to electronic music reaching the DJ sets of Four Tet and Ben UFO among many others. For this second album he switches to a ‘home’ label, the acclaimed Munich imprint Permanent Vacation.

What’s the music like?

A notch up from the average. Goku’s music continues to use attractive textures and loops with something a little different or distinctive added.

This can be heard in the lush title track, rich in Eastern promise, or the ambience of distracted voices and busy, watery loops on Mangrove Railways. He also works different tempo variations into the mix, with Libellenflug a nippy, percussive track that still retains its ambience, and the busy Orchids. The album evolves gradually, the quiet Yellow River Drone picking up more momentum as Goku moves into Cycles, with its softly resonating melodic nuggets. The momentum builds further, the album progressing as a strongly unified single composition, but also rewarding more fragmented listening.

Does it all work?

It does, convincingly – Goku securing a colourful canvas and plenty of musical interest.

Is it recommended?

Yes. Goku’s beat making skills and ability for creating colourful scenes in his music are a great match, and listening on headphones only opens out the possibilities. A fine sequel to his promising East Dimensional Riddims debut.



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