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SASAMI – “Free”

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Sasami Ashworth’s self-titled debut album, SASAMI, is shaping up to be a good one.

Today, the Los Angeles-based artist dropped her fourth and final single before the album release, “Free”. However, unlike the three singles preceding it (“Not the Time”, “Callous”, “Jealousy”), “Free” is by far the most sentimental song that Ashworth has released.

Joined by fellow Los Angeles musician Devendra Banhart on vocals, Ashworth explores a more vulnerable side of herself here. On “Free”, her voice is tender and yearning–a far shot from the mocking, creepy voices she used on “Jealousy” and on the cutthroat “Callous”. Instead, “Free” is pensive.

But of course, Ashworth adds her own twist to melodrama. Built on never-ending tambourine bells and uneasy squelching guitars that pop in and out, “Free” doesn’t let you feel too comfortable throughout the song. All that sonic build-up has to lead to something, right? A crazy guitar solo? A head-banging chorus? But surprisingly, that moment never comes. Ashworth’s depressingly hopeless lyrics (“I don’t care what tomorrow brings / Dreaming of some awful things / Cause our time is running out and you don’t know”) are sung with absolute sincerity. There’s a heavy weight in between the lines of “Free”, despite its ironically liberating name.

Accompanying the release of “Free” is a music video directed by Australian artist Riley Blakeway, which Ashworth shot on her recent tour in Australia. The visual, like the song, carries references of impending doom (an overturned car, a tornado on the TV, broken glass). Even though there are people surrounding her (in the bed, on the beach, hands that come into frame and then leave), we never get a clear look at who they are–they exist only on the periphery. You can’t help feeling that Ashworth is all alone in her barren world. The rest of the video features her walking through beautiful beaches, lush forests, and colorful hillsides. But that doesn’t seem to matter much when there’s no one there to experience it with.

SASAMI is out March 8 via Domino Records.

Artist pages: Bandcamp | Facebook | Spotify | Website

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Li-Wei Chu

Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think. He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.

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