The new single and video from Portuguese singer and multi-instrumentalist Surma is a treat on many levels. Two forms of Art totally in harmony with each other, “Hemma” weaves a surrealistic spell over anybody who has the good fortune to witness it.
Through direction from The Casota Collective, two contemporary dancers twist and writhe in a setting where the sun casts a fading light onto their androgynous bodies. Surma herself appears in the video, eyes always shut despite the surrounding themes hinting at beginnings and birth. It’s almost ritualistic in its mood and setting and is a bewitching fit to the song’s post-rock, ambient soundscapes.
As for the song itself, there are echoes of artists such as Grimes, FKA Twigs and Sleigh Bells but it keeps its own identity. It is minimal yet has a cavernous depth through its energy and tribal percussion. Her beguiling, almost-childlike vocal captures something deep within, some primal connection to the earth and nature that is depicted in the video. When a song’s beauty hits you, regardless of language or understanding (Cocteau Twins, Sigur Ros) it is always a special moment.
If you are hungry for more then you’ll have to wait until October before her album appears. There are a few ‘in-session’ videos on Youtube though which show how she builds her sound using loops and textures.
The world of Surma is going to be a place worth inhabiting.
“Hemma” is released on 21 July.