Local Review: Samsonite – MY NEIGHBOR SAMSONITE

Local Music Reviews


Street 02.03.2020
Samsonite =  moow + Gold Panda + Esbe 

These days I find myself searching for ways to calm my racing brain—things that remind me that it’s okay to be still in a world that seems to be spinning out of control. I’ve found music to be the most effective for this, and listening to Samsonite’s dreamy, lo-fi beats have been the perfect thing to clear my thoughts and just enjoy the present. The Logan-based one-man band Samsonite, aka Sam Kalt, has been making “chill” electronic music since 2017, including singles such as “Ivory Tower” and “SK8.” His most recent release, MY NEIGHBOR SAMSONITE, continues with his signature mellow brand of relaxing tunes combining natural samples, R&B beats and classic instruments. With nine relatively short tracks, the album is a smooth listen for anyone searching for an escape from the chaos. 

Opening track “SWEET SERENADE” begins with the soft noises of singing birds that fade into a melodic guitar riff. A simple beat provides structure while filtered vocals soothe the ears: “You are the sweetest soul I’ve ever known / When I’m with you I always feel at home.” The familiar tune of “Isn’t She Lovely” can be heard towards the end, a nod to Stevie Wonder’s own sweet serenade. “TODAY IS A GIFT” is a fun, one-minute song introduced by an uplifting vocal sample from the animated film Kung Fu Panda: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.” It’s a good reminder in this weird moment, one that brought a smile to my face after realizing it came from a fictional reptile. 

Most tracks on MY NEIGHBOR SAMSONITE sound similar, making for seamless transitions from one song to the next, but also creating more of a passive listening experience. “SKRILLEX IS MY FRIEND” shook me awake with a different rhythmic formula, along with a title that sits apart from the other sweetly named songs. The track picks up the pace with an energetic hip-hop beat and bright keyboard jabs, making a departure from the downtempo backbone of previous songs. Carefully placed reverb adds depth as well, without sounding too artificial. “LOTS OF LOVE” maintains the album’s primary momentum—a quick beat and airy flute melody fade in and out of lyrics that repeat “Got a lot of love.” The combination of electronic elements and analog instruments on this track—and throughout the album—works well, keeping the album natural yet innovative. 

The closing song pretty much sums up the entire vibe of MY NEIGHBOR SAMSONITE. “ULTRA MEGA CHILL MODE COLLECTORS EDITION” is an ode to the lo-fi genre, downtempo beats and keyboard melodies bring the momentum back to a dreamy lull. The name is just *chefs kiss*, and I wish the track was longer than 1:30, but I suppose it leaves you wanting more for a good reason. Ultimately, this album is a fun addition to Utah’s music scene and makes for the perfect study/work playlist. It’s something I’ll listen to when my brain starts to worry about the world and I need a reminder that this moment is precious. Stream the album on Spotify and keep up with Samsonite on Instagram: @sam.kalt. –Avrey Evans