Monday, 18 October 2010

Glasser - Ring (True Panther Sounds)

When listening to Glasser, I simply can’t help envisioning a resplendent stage show encompassing luminescent ballerinas, billowing capes and headdresses and monumental drums manned by tribal warriors in glowing warpaint, whilst blustery winds sweep the scene and Glasser herself emerges from the floorboards amidst thick fog and undulating lights. This is without witnessing her onstage, may I add, or even knowing what she looks like. It is simply the attachment of the musical flavour to previous performances I have witnessed in recent months from the likes of Fever Ray and Bats for Lashes. Such a comparison, however, is unfair to Glasser (known as Cameron Mesirow in the so-called real world) because merely lumping her into a movement obstructs the fact that her début record, ‘Ring’ is a heart stopping, and at times heart pounding, listen from start to finish.

Thumping percussion introduces us to the record and such a pounding sound persists throughout, forming the rhythmic backbone of an utterly primordial baroque pop production. The voice of Glasser, as it seeps into opening track ‘Apply’, resounds with an ominous sentiment strongly reminiscent of the wavering chanting of avant-garde pop genius Bjork. Glasser appears to have experimented with percussive force throughout the recording process, and with incredible success judging by the finished product. The end of ‘Plane Temp’ sounds like a class full of musically gifted primary school kids let loose in the percussion box, such is the drifting, boundless quality to the amalgam of instruments fading in and out. Wooden pings, bells, oriental jangles and sonorous bass booms haunt each and every track on ‘Ring’, forging a beautifully uneasy and unearthly tone.

The modestly titled ‘T’ is a surge of astral curiosity, consisting of a gorgeous tinkling of the cosmic ivories and a bewitching vocal pattern that twinkles in and out of existence. The grace and elegance inherent in Glasser’s approach to melody and music evokes spiritual narratives of old, conjuring up a delightfully disconsolate undercurrent, strengthening the association between her music and the tribal religiosity of ancient cultures. Very rarely does this album falter but the robotic echoing vocal effect that materialises towards the culmination of ‘Mirrorage’ mars the guttural sense of deep-seated, inherent introspection that pummels it’s way through the drum beat and ambiance of cosmological awe.

When an artist uses their specific medium to address something avant-garde, tribal and insightful, so many factors can veer away from the aura of authenticity that embodies such a cultural creation. It’s high praise to declare that Glasser circumnavigates the majority of possible problems, using an array of fundamental instrumentation, an almost spectral voice that imitates the time-honoured power of the choir and a mood which entrenches itself firmly within tremendously transcendent mysticism.

Words : Adam Parker

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