Refracting post-punk sensibilities through an abstract lens, Madison, Wisconsin’s Samantha Glass makes a haunting and immersive Holodeck debut with Preparation for a Spot in the World. Glass, AKA Beau Devereaux, wistfully mediates his own inner strife and anxiety through a host of vintage electronics, field recordings and deep, expressive vocals. Carefully sequenced tracks build on each other and make each diverse song thematically cohesive within the album. Using a dense variety of sound sources processed through echo-driven effects, Devereaux submerges the listener into ominous vignettes that one can only assume to be windows into Glass’ own beautifully bleak mind.
Devereaux’s teenage roots involved a series of punk and metal bands that eventually evolved into solo experiments with noise and drone. Arriving to Madison’s DIY community in 2010, Beau began to shape the local scene through his prolific work with the Samantha Glass project. Beau has since performed extensively throughout the Midwest, building up his reputable and polished live set while releasing an array of highly praised and rare mixtapes. Samantha Glass is itself an expression of Devereaux’s own complicated journey through self-identification, often dissonant, androgynous and exploratory.
“Bending Images in the Center” best represents this process of exploration; Beau’s despondent lyrics and arpeggiating synthesizers rise and give way to a bed of warm, relaxing tones and disorientating tape recordings of a German monologue. Disparate styles and themes effortlessly blend across the entire album, as Devereaux’s compositions display an astonishing level of aesthetic unity. Balanced and complex, “Hidden Arrangements” and “Engraved Visions” have infectiously catchy synth lines and beats that support Beau’s dejected monotone drawl.
PFASITW could be described as very strange pop music interspersed with long stretches of dark ambient soundscapes and passages of bright New Age bliss, making each successive piece a distant memory of the last. Devereaux’s musical personality is unique and eclectic, covering a wide range of appeal that makes Samantha Glass a truly multifaceted artist.
Preparation for a Spot in the World spans a gamut of genres and styles that would impress even the most established underground veterans. Samantha Glass fills the void for listeners that feel the need to penetrate beyond the bonds of the traditional and embrace a wider range of outsider art.