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Glass Armonica :: Glass Armonica (Unit Structure Sound Recordings) CASSETTE

$5 CAD
Glass Armonica :: Glass Armonica (Unit Structure Sound Recordings) CASSETTE
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Glass Armonica :: Glass Armonica (Unit Structure Sound Recordings) CASSETTE

$5 CAD
Foxy Digitalis Love:

One of the most surprising turns in journalism of recent years is the complete misunderstanding of experimental music by the mainstream music press, who perpetually long to capitalize on well-written music without engaging with what makes it well-written. The absurd website Altered Zones, which descended into the even more absurd website Ad Hoc, and the margins on Pitchfork which give space to months-old news and poorly thought out coverage to ten thousand times the readership of any respectable experimental news site, freeze my blood in disgust.

The recent attempt by Ad Hoc to raise $30,000 in start-up cash (can one even imagine a decent artist making $30,000 over the course of their entire career at this time in history?) from a capital-raising website was reminiscent of a satirical show like “Nathan Barley,” and one gets the sense that in a few years the writers who tout the lamentable Grimes as a revolutionary force in music will soon have moved on to something else, something equally banal; one music writer declares now that “vaporware” (a ridiculous term which I imagine refers to the musicians who make careers of stealing Oneohtrix Point Never’s ideas from years ago, and a word I was unfamiliar with until a friend’s brother asked my opinion on it recently) does for music what Duchamp did for visual art.

I can only express my puzzlement at this statement — especially because of the idea that the writer of such a blatantly false assertion could actually state something with so little emotion or feeling. This chameleon-like game of creating a genre and then watching as a thousand yuppies vie for attention by defining themselves by it would be enough to turn any honest person’s mind towards other musical fields. I have often found myself recently listening to mundane music, the more unfashionable the better, simply because it has received scathing reviews in Pitchfork or that awful newspaper, The New York Times.

It is refreshing then that Vancouver, B.C.-based band Glass Armonica has a talent for incorporating instrumental structure with noise, as well as a strong conceptual basis for their work, which is written with intelligence and good taste, and without capitalizing on recent musical trends. The release is lacking mostly in terms of the overall looseness of the playing (it sounds at times as though the players are anticipating one another too much, rather than playing naturally as a whole) — but this is a general problem with nearly all newer bands who have not yet played together or toured together long enough to “fire on all pistons,” so to speak.

One of the release’s strengths is its combination of full-band instrumentation with drone-based music, which is so often centered around a single instrument such as a guitar or synth; one suggestion here might be the implementation of “hooks” or memorable passages into the music, even if a songwriter is not interested in or aiming for a pop sound — note that some of the best music of recent years includes memorable melodic lines (namely Liz Harris’s or James Blackshaw’s work, for example) without a compromising of artistic integrity. The singing here also tends to gravitate toward a few set notes, and could be strengthened by becoming more dynamic in terms of melodic shape.

There is much to like here and much sophisticated writing indeed. I think the band should continue on their path, develop their playing so that it is more closely-knit, retain their artistic integrity, and tour in order to strengthen their sound, and it is quite possible they could release something very strong in the future — this EP feels more like a statement of potential rather than a declarative release, but that is not necessarily a bad thing if that potential is fulfilled in the future.

-Jordan Anderson