The Secret Samurai
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The Secret Samurai

San Diego, California, United States | SELF

San Diego, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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Out of the ashes of long time California faves Surf Report comes Secret Samurai - a powerful surf trio that have come up with a cracking new 11 track CD. There is plenty of reverb, backed by a solid, clear bass and drums. The songwriting and production on this are top notch - the melodies come through loud 'n clear. I like how, instead of doing full blown covers, they'll take small bits and pieces of well known songs and throw them into their own compositions. For example, Shoegazer starts with a little bit of Church Key, but then it goes off in a completely different direction. It's all housed in a nifty cardboard sleeve and the CD even looks like a mini-LP. Definitely one of the best releases of 2008! - Continental Magazine (Issue #15)


Well now, I sure like this. This is a totally solid release with consistent sound and energy, and some really good writing and playing. Modern surf with traditional tone. You won't be disappointed.

Picks: Don't Fear The Reverb, Shoegazer, Bereft Of Enemies, Titus, Sink Or Swim, Bakersfield, L'Ultimo Basamento, Off The Richter (Act II), Dastardly Deeds, Istanbul, The Song Remains Insane

Don't Fear The Reverb
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Are you surprised that "Don't Fear The Reverb" is reverb laden? This is an aggressive double picked number with a flashy lead guitar and heavy beat. The melody line is slightly mean, and is played with dangerous energy. Very cool track!

Shoegazer
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
"Shoegazer" os definitely not a shoegazer of an instro. This is a splashy song with high energy and a spiffy melody line. The spunk and drive really keep you focused.

Bereft Of Enemies
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
"Bereft Of Enemies" is a lovely and rich surf instro with a wonderful melody and Spanish flair. Whammy chords say surf, as does the reverb. This is one of those songs that delicate and loud, and superbly engaging.

Titus
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Fast and double picked with splashy flair, "Titus" has a bit of a Spanish edge, and a very compelling melody line. Adventurous and full of vigor!

Sink Or Swim
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
This is raucous and reverby, with great drums and a ton of spunk. "Sink Or Swim" drives relentlessly to that perfect curl. Great drums and dribbling double picking, along with thick reverb chords.

Bakersfield
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
A country beat behind rich reverb gives rise to the unlikely notion of surf in Bakersfield, home to Buck Owens. This is a splashy hoe-down for the short board generation. Pretty fun!

L'Ultimo Basamento
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
"L'Ultimo Basamento" is a slow number with rich reverb imagery presented through the wonder of Leo's dripping springs. Exotic island and Mexican sounds seem to be everywhere. The melody is truly wonderful.

Off The Richter (Act II)
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
This is a song brought forward from "Surf Report," and it's simply superb! Grand galloping drums and rhythm. and big splashy surf guitar. "Off The Richter (Act II)" is really friendly and rich.

Dastardly Deeds
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Big chords a la Dick Dale's jammier numbers from the day open "Dastardly Deeds." What starts out as a less interesting track that's more riffy than most The Secret Samurai songs, eventually evolves into something much more.

Istanbul
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
This is a splendid version of J. Kennedy and N. Simon's "Istanbul." It's sorta like a cross between the way The Halibuts and The Renegades did it, but also influenced by ancient versions. This is fast and dripping with reverb and riddled with tom toms. Too fun!

The Song Remains Insane
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Fast and lush with reverb power, "The Song Remains Insane" is chord laden and big. While you won't be whistling it, it sure does have energy and rich tone. - Phil Dirt (Reverb Central)


Instrumental surf music is inseparable from Southern California. Popular 1950s rock and roll in Los Angeles adopted jazz elements as well as Mexican street-music features. Dick Dale experimented with reverberation to give his Fender Stratocaster an echo and what he described as a “wet” sound, trying to re-create the music he heard in his head while surfing. Dale incorporated quick staccato picking, a hot-rod-tough sensibility, and Middle Eastern scales from his ancestral home of Lebanon.

Secret Samurai plays it as well as any other band. They carry on all the genre’s defining traditions: the lightning-quick riffs, clean rhythms, and reverb. The first five tracks are textbook examples of the sound. In later songs, a subtle spaghetti-western influence can be heard. The dramatic “Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”–like guitar-picking fits well. Both styles evoke vintage, cinematic, and romantic feelings, and the lending of the two - Frankie Avalon meets Clint Eastwood - is a genius contribution to popular culture.
- The San Diego Reader


Discography

Zanshin, 2011
GUN-SHO-GUN, 2008

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Bio

The Secret is out! The Secret Samurai is a high energy instrumental surf rock trio from San Diego, CA. Formed in 2005, their music combines Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Latin, and Asian influences with surf rock to create some of the most original and compelling music in the genre today. The trio consists of wiley vetrans of San Diego's independent music scene (including members of Surf Report and Big Tension.)

The Secret Samurai work the antipodal influences of passionate Spanish guitar and frenetic Japanese Eleki into a heavy and aggressive trio sound. This is not Gidget's surf music, but an evolution of Dick Dale's crunchy Middle Eastern melodies. The Secret Samurai released their second CD, "Zanshin" earlier this year.

The band released their debut CD, GUN-SHO-GUN, in 2008. Their highly anticipated sophmore album, Zanshin, produced by Dave Klein (Agent Orange, The Bomboras, The Ghastly Ones) was released in March of 2011. They have opened for surf rock luminaries such as Laika & The Cosmonauts, Agent Orange, The Space Cossacks, and Daikaiju.

Witness the shape of surf to come...