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Glass - Palindrome CD (album) cover

PALINDROME

Glass

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars The use of a real church pipe organ -- an 1849 Whalley-Genung in the First Presbyterian Church of Port Townsend to be exact -- recalls Minimum Vital from France (or their more- recent derivation, Vital Duo). The long sinewy melody lines remind of Ratledge-era Soft Machine. The recording quality is intentionally vintage, recorded partly in the aforementioned church and partly in a converted barn in Port Townsend, directly to a Revox A-77 two-track. Instruments include analog synthesizers and vintage keyboards such as the Mellotron and Fender Rhodes piano, plus a mind-boggingly huge drumkit.

If you're familiar with Glass's music you know they sound like nobody else -- epic and hypnotic at the same time, tuneful and repetitive. This their seventh release continues the patented "Glass sound," but with the added benefit of a total rethinking of modern recording techniques.

It might take several spins to adjust your ears, as this CD sounds like nothing else on the market. The effort will be richly rewarded however with a glimpse of the musical vision of the world's most distinct symphonic progressive trio.

Report this review (#1133602)
Posted Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Commendable effort in attempting to recreate early 70's Canterbury feel, but sadly, the end result falls rather short of expectations. Obviously, the band must have heard of Soft Machine, and perhaps even of Matching Mole, but the reality is that with even Hugh Hopper guesting, the music reminds of less memorable moments of those peers released 40 years earlier.

Back then when the release of every album was eagerly awaited and sometimes pre- ordered, artists could afford to indulge in longer, meandering compositions. Side long tracks building up slowly, then concluding without much substance in the middle were accepted then. Fast forward 40 years and with the glut of music is now available, such approach no longer seems to be adequate.

I gave this album a few spins and it had grown on me - if only marginally - but failed to leave a lasting impression. GLASS appears to have fallen in the trap of not realizing that an indulgent approach is no longer sufficient to raise much admiration. Those days are over.

The use of an old church organ in France at the start is a clever choice. Unfortunately, it fails to take full advantage of the full potential of the rich timbre of such instrument would have afforded. The end result is akin to a half-cooked gourmet meal that already smells good, but left unfinished.

Following that, we reach indulgence territory of often aimlessly meandering sound with the odd, livelier passage thrown in. A Ratledge-like riff on keys is frighteningly close to what has already been released by Soft Machine and it has raised my eyebrows. Not sure what to make of it, is it a tribute to SM, or blatant copying?

"Palindrome" is a mildly enjoyable work, nothing disturbing there, but boredom sets in early in the scene. I appreciate the intent, but this work is amongst the least memorable associated with Canterbury. I can't go above a 3 star rating here.

Report this review (#1136079)
Posted Sunday, February 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is a totally different prog album which is labeled symphonic prog. The American band "Glass" seams to have been around for a long time but their records are made in the twentyfirst century. "Palindrome" from 2014 is their fourth effort and it has a pleasant cover with an old house with a nice red colour. "Glass" is a trio made up by Greg Sherman, Jerry Cook and Jeff Sherman who are playing a lot of instruments such as mellotrons, synthesizers, drums, guitars and basses. The music though is heavily synthesizer driven.

It starts promising and ends terribly. In the beginning of the record I like what I hear. It's something unique I have never heard before. "No Sanctuary" is a track dominated of a church organ and this modest and fine track don't force the listener to anything. I like its unassuming way of get into me(7/10). "Satori" (6/10) and "One"(6/10) are also pleasant recordings of fine small melodies and sincere instrumentation. But the music is quite monotonous if you continue to listen and it becomes more and more of just an alternative sound wall where the band experiments with small music. The worst example is the terribly long "Arrhythmia Linger Longer"(2/10) and many of the others are just as boring to hear. In my opinion the most of this record is quite meaningless. Though must I say as a defence, the bright moments of the record are very fresh. The music of "Glass" is fefinitely something new. It's definitely not modern symphonic prog such as Glass Hammer of Spock's Beard. Neither is it like the seventies finer examples or organ rock a' la ELP. This is something totally unique that could give it one more star just for that. In my ears though, boring music with potentials. Two stars!

Report this review (#1286623)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2014 | Review Permalink

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