Normally I avoid repetition in music. Usually my iTunes is randomly shuffling from my “Not Recently Played” playlist. Yet I find myself playing these two netlabel albums by Glander multiple times a week. Music that is highly repetitive, with long, sprawling arcs, and four on the floor kick drum. Reading a description of it, I wouldn’t have given it much of a chance. But this is one of my favorite discoveries of the year.
Yuki Yaki’s blurb for Heavy Weights has this fanciful description:
The tracks will take you on a dive cruise, each of them has its own little valley and its own moon. So: Take your time. This is exactly how I feel about it. The underwater aspect is suggested by the cover, which looks like a Shogun trilobite, and continues through the tracks with glossy, undulating textures. When this album starts I feel like I’m returning to a space that has continued to exist in my absence.
A couple of months after finding Heavy Weights, Vate (released on the 1 bit wonder netlabel) popped up in the archive.org feed. I literally cheered when I saw that there was more Glander to experience. Vate shows how dialed in to his technique Glander is, without at all being formulaic. The same masterful use of repetition is there but there’s a slightly grittier edge to the textures, and I almost get the sense that the camera has a wider angle lens, as bizarre as that is to say about music. These tracks are funkier, too. For instance, listen to the syncopation in the second track, Hmbrg, or the staccato gurgles in Drift. While Heavy Weights is a deep sea dive, Vate is a swooping flight through an urban landscape.
I’m still trying to understand why Glander’s use of repetition is so satisfying. On closer listening, the repeating textures are actually continually varying in small ways, and the different layers flow in and out of the foreground, creating complex interactions. There’s also a constant, but subtle, change in the surrounding space. Sometimes the textures will echo, and then it’s like they come close to you and have a very focused feel, and then drift outward into a cavernous space. There will be long stretches where you might not have noticed even that there were no drums, and then the kick will return at just the right moment.
Both of these albums, along with the bonus tracks available on Glander’s site, reward close listening as well as zoning out and using as background to working and working out.
Glander (download individual tracks that have been on various compilations)
This is part of a series of netlabel reviews.