Photo by TImothy Murray
From the thundering opening drumbeats of Apply, Glasser’s Ring encircles you, squeezing you tight and never letting up. Ring is the debut LP of “one-woman orchestra” Cameron Mesirow, recording under the nom de guerre, Glasser. The album is replete with soaring vocals, hypnotic harmonies, and the lush and layered soundscapes of a full orchestra. In fact, unlike Glasser’s Apply EP which was composed almost entirely on Mesirow’s laptop, Ring utilizes the rich sounds of real-life marimbas, chimes, saxophone, koto, and an array of heavy drums and synthesizers in its arrangements.
Ring is named for its adherence to a traditional “ring” literary structure, where ideas are arranged in a symmetric order for emphasis. Mesirow also enlisted the help of Swedish producers Van Rivers and The Sublimimal Kid to create transitions between all of the tracks so the album can play in a continuous loop. In the “ring” structure, the song T, serves as the album’s center, and is the only track without a partner. “Eight of the nine songs are paired up and they share themes,” Mesirow shares with Fader Magazine. “Home is the second song on the record and Treasury of We is the eighth song, and they share a disorienting factor. They’re both about false stability.” According to Mesirow, T is both the spiritual and literal center of the ring, and was written as a dedication to long-time best friend and visual artist Tauba Aeubach, who also created the album art for Ring.
T is the smoldering down-tempo ballad, reminiscent of Bjork’s Unravel, and serves as the ideal changeover center of an album filled with so many densely layered compositions. Compositions such as Home, which ebbs and flows in warm waves with hand claps and layered choruses leading the way, Clamour, which features a menacing saxophone backbeat and ominous vocals, and the playful call and response marimba on Treasury of We. Highlights are hard to single out on Ring, because all of the songs are consistently excellent. Our only complaint is that the album ends too soon, and after nine tracks, we are left wanting more. (If you purchase the digital album from iTunes, you will receive two additional bonus tracks, Temp On and Let Letter, but there is a reason they didn’t make the album cut)
Glasser’s debut LP, Ring, is available now from True Panther Sounds.
Timbre Tantrum’s rating 4 out of 5 stars.