[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
There is a lot to take in with this one, twenty tracks on the version I have, to be precise. Once more, something completely unknown has been trotted out by Mordant Music and yet again I find myself having to play catch up. Glass Isle aren’t the sort of duo you would find anywhere else. I don’t care what the prevailing wisdom in the press states about ‘Hauntology’; there’s nothing shambling about evoking memories of what once was, no dusty photographs have been unearthed. What is going on in their work is total and absolute destruction. Melodies, vocals and disturbing reverberations which boil up from beneath our feet from god knows where.
Yeah you read that right, these two actually make the attempt to melt everything down and then re-cast it in the image they like best; no bargain is made to latch on to what anyone else out there is doing. Chris Meades may have written about brownfields… Glass Isle are operating from within one, don’t even try to work out their location. Disconnected from everything and with a single minded purpose, they permit us to take in the results of their remarkable experiments. Experiments which both lull and lacerate every single region of the mind with a thorough and fastidious temperament.
The detailing contained herein is superb.
To achieve this kind of resolution in the electronic medium is heady enough but they won’t just leave it there, oh no, for them the ends truly justify the means. There can be no better example of this than in the final piece on here which is a sprawling master stroke of tension and at times, unrelenting morosity. All the interludes and songs they execute on their debut have been leading to a finale you just aren’t ready for; drift with them through the saturnine ether of “Mirror Ynys” and don’t try to find your way back. Sounds play off each other to fashion a kind of fractal mosaic on this reflective piece, driving your further and further into your own mind. Layer after layer compresses to create a living tableau of experiences wrought from the core of life, which could come from anywhere. If there is a point of origin they may have come upon it.
As I write this, a storm is brewing outside; it has been building all thoughout my listening session with the wind continuing to rise. The rain comes in fits and starts, it is a solid wall of grey above me which shows no sign of abating which is more than enough inducement for me to play this one through again.
Raise that mast and set sail for the isle.