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.
A Sense of Place: Grønland by Glåsbird
Glåsbird is an alluring new project inaugurated, we are told, under a cloak of anonymity by an established artist within the ambient/modern classical scene to focus on chosen themes and develop them into carefully crafted conceptual soundtracks. The first published material from this project was the highly evocative Drift Stations which took a mere ten minutes to put the listener in thrall to the austere beauty of the Arctic Circle. While the EP held its own as a compact narrative, it was also a prelude of much more to come as the “Land Ahead” at the end of its 2-track journey turns out to be the sprawling ice-capped island country of Greenland which is majestically explored on the full-length Grønland now out on Whitelabrecs.
All the tantalizing promise shown by Drift Stations is realized on Grønland in spades. Violin, cello, guitar, and filigreed tape effects form a lens through which we can take in the sweep of a wondrously imagined geography. We can see the icy shimmer and glinting light of its stark landscape and the feel the profound sense of isolation and tranquillity. Where will the mysterious Glåsbird take us next? Grønland is a beautiful place to linger while we wait to find out.
Grønland is available in a limited deluxe edition gatefold vinyl-effect CD (100 copies) as well as digital download. Cover image by traveller/photographer Lennart Pagel.