Whitelabrecs special: Glåsbird, Anthene and Sven Laux
First up is a six-piece album by an anonymous artist, known only as Glåsbird with their first full-length release, titled Grønland. Judging from the title, and the album cover featuring the icy mountains by a cabin from a small Greenlandic town, shot by the German photographer Lennart Pagel, one would prepare to wrap themselves in thick blankets before venturing into the cold environments of their expectations. Here’s an imaginary soundtrack for a film about Greenland – “the world’s largest island as well as one of the most uninhabited landmasses on the planet, which is thanks to stark temperatures and the permanent ice sheet which occupies most of this land.”
And yet, no special preparation is required for this journey – the music on the album is warm, organic, and inviting, while still retaining open space where isolationists dwell free. Numerous acoustic instruments, along with strumming of the electric guitar and strings make up environment ideal for the blooming, while found sounds and the sprawling synths paint with a wide brush of the sonic seasons. And while this artist keeps us guessing of their true identity, at least one person (me!) is much convinced that this is someone we already know [and very well indeed!] – production quality on here is pretty high to be a newcomer to the scene! A gorgeous modern classical marvel in which I’ve doused on more than one occasion. Meanwhile, looks like Glåsbird already sold out the next release, Svalbarð.
In February 2019 we released the debut album by an anonymous artist named Glåsbird, in the form of Grønland, a sonic expedition of Greenland. The album received much critical acclaim despite being from an anonymous artist and was even featured on Bandcamp Daily under their ‘best Ambient’ feature. CD copies of this record have long since sold out, but the Glåsbird continues its flight to a new destination: Svalbard.
Svalbard lies 78 degrees north, is inside the Arctic Circle and had a population of around 2600 people and an estimated 3000 polar bears! Its calendar year divides between the midnight sun and the polar nights. The former is a period of constant daylight and the latter is the opposite. However, the dark season is broken from time to time by spectacular Northern Lights.
In Svalbarð, Glåsbird became immersed once more in this next excursion, through means of Google Earth, 360° photos, blogger accounts of the isles, maps and also, videos by Efterklang who were an obvious reference point with the band having visited.
This time, we are treated to a greater number of tracks, as ten movements weave Modern Classical influenced Ambient soundscapes. The pristine, polished reverb of Grønland is replaced with a slightly muddier, more lo-fi approach to the sound as the artist strived to present a tape-eroded aesthetic to their work. The recordings deal with dramatic landscapes, glaciers, an abandoned coal community, a seed vault, the Island’s capital city Longyearbyen and of course, polar bears. Each piece feels icy cold, yet the warmth and hiss provided by the decaying tape effects provide a comfort blanket for the listener as perhaps you take in these scenes from a lonely cabin, at one with isolation and natural beauty.
The packaging for the album includes photography from Svalbard itself, courtesy of Aldona Pivoriene who is a professional photographer based in Norway. We are also set to release the next Glåsbird album next year. Where will the destination be? For now, we hope you enjoy immersing yourself in this new set of works exploring Svalbard.
released August 10, 2019
Written and produced by Glåsbird
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Photography by Aldona Pivoriene (www.aldonapivoriene.com)
Packaging design by Harry Towell