Do you know those moments when songs affect you so deeply that you feel goosebumps reaching your bones? I’ve replayed Surma‘s new song “Hemma” so many times now that it should’ve stopped happening, but it didn’t. The effect is only heightened by the beautiful video that accompanies the single – simple yet profoundly touching, the perfect match for the song.
I’ve written about Débora Umbelino (aka Surma) before, as one of the recent Portuguese acts that have caught my attention. Her compositions have always attracted me, and I’ve always wondered how such a small girl could build such intricate levels of sounds, magic and feeling. Her live performances are equally powerful and intriguing, as the audience witnesses a one-woman band that is huge on stage, mesmerising and sweet, fragile yet causing tremendous impact. She uses loops, samples, plays a number of instruments and builds with her own hands and voice musical landscapes that transport the listener to a labyrinth of soft and colourful dream-like dimensions.
With her debut album, “Antwerpen”, due to come out in October through Omnichord Records, Surma is building impressive momentum. “Antwerpen” is not going to contain any of the previously released material, but if the first single, “Hemma”, can be an indication of the quality of the album, I expect nothing less than a brilliantly composed and performed collection of sounds, stories and emotions.
“Hemma” is world-class. The video, produced by CASOTA Collective (which includes members of the equally impressive band First Breath After Coma) is slow-moving and almost colourless, contrasting with how the song travels between space and sound and paints meaning with every colour of the rainbow. There is something almost primitive and essential about this powerful combination, something ineffable that is felt physically, something that is pure emotion and innocence and awe.
My advice is: play the video on the largest screen you have, with the best sound system possible, and let yourself float through an imaginary world of wonder, beauty and harmony.