Sam Goku
Things We See When We Look Closer

(Permanent Vacation)


Given the sheer inventiveness it took for Sam Goku to carve out his own sonic path on his debut album, it would have been a surprise if he did anything other than head further down it at full pelt on the follow-up. Accordingly, Things We See When We Look Closer takes the highly singular blend of traditional Asian instrumentation, strikingly modern electronics and Goku’s own field recordings, a combination he forged impressively on 2021’s East Dimensional Riddims, and cranks up the maximalism. 

For the Munich-based Goku, this closer inspection of his own sound involves a doubling down on the high-tempo rhythms of his first record in some aspects – especially on the pulsating ‘Libellenflug’, and in the driving journey of ‘Mangrove Railways’. Elsewhere, though, there are excursions out into more atmospheric territory, with ‘Yellow River Drone’ rendered an incongruous album opener by its unsettling ambience and the spacey, low-key glitch of ‘Zoom Out’ and ‘Sky and Sand’ offering a chance for decompression before the pulsating closing one-two of ‘Silver Rushing Streams’ and ‘Life by the Pond’. Goku’s refusal to stay in one stylistic lane may confound some, but he slaloms between them with real assurance.