. issue IV : vii .

by barathron

. artist : glowpeople .
. album : things… .
. year : 2012 .
. label : cosmic primitive .
. grade : a .


“Things went wrong. Things went right…. Things went totally bad.”

No disrespect to the UK’s Glowpeople, but I’m calling bullsh*t on that. Things… goes totally right and stays that way.

They call their wares “psychedelic jazz mish-mash on toast,” and that’s about as concise as I’d ever get; a rich, luxurious combination of styles spread over much, much more than simple white bread. Glowpeople are groovy, jazzy, psychedelic, progressive and downright danceable if your dancing shoes are gravity boots on a looser and lighter planet than ours. A self-described collective of cats with varying backgrounds, attitudes and influences all working together to pump out their “free jazz zoo of sounds,” Glowpeople make true head music that’s not afraid of embracing its own smarts. Things… is primarily instrumental, with some spoken word snippets tossed in for good measure and trippy embellishment.

Tirelessly active, furtive and relaxing all at the same time, Things… is frothy from start to finish, engaging a wide range of input masterfully.

Drums, guitar, keys, bass, trumpet … all dance around and embrace each other at the same time with no conflict, but plenty of overlap. Each cut packs enough in that many outfits could, and would, weakly stretch it over the whole album. To these ears, the payoff is certainly greatest when taken as whole, but Things… is made up of individual songs, and they deliver one at a time taken that way. There are as many moods, tones and sojourns as there are ingredients in the head stew.

“Everywhere” has a slow drift that’s not unlike coming untethered from the Mothership and floating off into … everywhere. “Metaphorical” sports bassist Robot’s spastic pulse that builds a spiraling nucleus for the rest of the protons and electrons to buzz around, while “Resounds in H Flat” focuses that energy into a tasteful sprint that is fully aware there is no finish line. As if one was relevant to begin with. “Crepuscular” bathes you in a dubby, wine-soaked exhaust before the waves of “With You Without” roll in to lick your feet and the tide gently pulls you out into noir, wobbling jazzy waters. Closer “The Saddest Flower In The Vase” hops in the saddle to gallop through the cosmic zoo, pulling up, down and around the stars.

All these and more may indeed make a “free jazz zoo” of sonic animals, but nothing here is caged, nothing is pacing back and forth behind the bars feeling stifled or locked in. For as far-reaching and inclusive as Things… is, Glowpeople are a firm, yet rubbery, tamer. Things… is certainly free, but not running blindly wild with no pilot. That may make inserting Glowpeople into slot A or B nigh on impossible, but that’s also what makes Things… transcend being just intelligent and trippy music for the few constantly looking upwards and gives it a certain something that should appeal to fans of all kinds of music. Good music.

by Mr. Atavist