Glenn Murawski – Electronic Melodies Volume 2 – EP Review
This guy’s always gonna get an A for his effort from me.
There’s a real beauty in the creative process when you can see it take hold, and Glenn has certainly tapped into that big-time over these past couple years or so as he’s revamped a lot of his past catalog and continued to surge with new originals at the very same time. One of the few out there that has me running the gamut just trying to keep up with the rapid output of tunes he’s been putting out; I have literally no doubt that anyone reading these pages of ours has seen his name pop up several times.
And for plenty of great reasons too…if you have a look back through those past reviews you’ll see that my opinion of Murawski’s music has been more than favorable – I’m a big fan of his ability to combine expressionism & soundscapes of all kinds into compelling instrumentals that span out in all kinds of different directions. In all the experiences I can recall, there’s always something redeeming in Glenn’s music that’ll connect in the songs he creates…and of course, for the most-part, you’ll hear me argue that once again here today in the review of his Electronic Melodies Volume 2 EP. Dude writes great tunes.
All that good stuff being said, I was as unsure of the beginning of this record as I think I’ve ever felt about one of Murawski’s songs before…something about “You’ve Got The Right One” seemed missing. More often than not, Glenn’s put a fantastic choice up front to lead you into his albums & EPs…but there’s definitely more of a risk being taken than any I can recall with having this track as the gateway in. On the one hand, on a textural level, “You’ve Got The Right One” does contain a highly interesting sound that immediately catches the interest, but maybe isn’t quite flexible enough as the song carries on. The additional atmospheric elements that climb into the mix seemed to do their best to right the course, but I’m not 100% sure it ever quite got to where Murawski wanted this one to go…which is something I think you can see visually in the short track length of this opening tune as well. Enough uniqueness to be an opener or an intro in there…and maybe even at its core, some ideas in the melody still worth saving as well…but undoubtedly a bigger risk than I can recall him taking up front at the beginning of any of his previous records with having one of his more experimental tunes opening as the first impression. I’m all about experimentation…I’m all about non-traditional vocals as well, I think there is a lot of opportunity that lies in both of these elements of music that are still vastly unexplored; but if I’m being as 100% truthful as I always am…the vocals on “You’ve Got The Right One,” were an awkward fit into this first cut. Most important thing in my mind almost always is whether or not that next addition serves the song and pushes it forward, or if that next piece somehow drags it backwards. I feel like I get what Glenn was going for well-enough here…and maybe it’s the warp-speed of his creative process just getting the better of him for a second or two…but yeah…end results were that something never felt quite right about “You’ve Got The Right One” or that it held to the full standards he’s previously set.
I’m not panicking, there’s simply no reason to. Perhaps being a first-time listener of Glenn Murawski might have you scratching your head a little bit trying to figure him out on “You’ve Got The Right One” – but I know better…I know this man’s average over time is incredibly high and that the odds of him stumbling two times in a row are next to zero. And for what it’s worth, I think he proves that faith in him is justified when “Interstitial” comes out of your speakers as the very next tune. Highly enticing with its live-wire sound…it’s like Glenn has grabbed himself a couple of electrical sockets & some copper and started to jam after plugging it all in together! Ultimately “Interstitial” relies heavily upon that main melody line throughout its first two-thirds before Glenn switches it up to a more low-end driven groove to float along with towards the end, slipping in that main element slyly into the background for the finale. I like the sense of adventure that comes with this song and a ton of what Murawski creates, I felt like the transition was strong, even though I felt like I missed the initial presence of that main melody for the first couple spins through it. The more I listened to “Interstitial” I felt like the more I became attached to it…it’s got such a vibrant bounce to the sound that comes right at ya in such a strong way that you can practically feel it sending electrodes down your spine to tingle your body as it plays on.
“Below The Surface” added strength to the lineup for sure, building on the momentum and getting this EP into the realm & scope of sound that Murawski has been crushin’ all year long consistently. There’s a lot to appreciate about this song and the colorful collage of sound it creates; highly complex stuff at work happening all throughout this song, yet its gentle demeanor would almost have your ears believing this is a slow tune. That kind of contrast is always bound to get noticed…Glenn achieves this through adding layers piece by piece and discovering how they interact on “Below The Surface” – and the violin that eventually comes in to steal the show was that perfect addition to what was already engaging. Once it joins the mix, “Below The Surface” is quite arguably captivating…there is a LOT going on by the time it gets there already, but the way Glenn’s got it placed in the mix allows the lead & background to shine in tandem brilliantly. So this worked for me; I think there’s a slight chance it could still be a bit demanding on the ears of the everyday listener to fully get their heads around it, but I also think that the way this track seems to be as slow or as fast as you personally want to hear it might really help a song like this break through to the listeners out there. Progressively, track-by-track, you can hear that Electronic Melodies Volume 2 is heading towards something incredible…each song has a piece of something that stands out for all the right reasons…and you know that special moment is coming soon.
In fact, it’s right around the corner. “Blue Skies” is without question right up there with the best of the best in the Murawski music catalog…and considering how many songs this guy has, you know that’s sayin’ a lot. No hyperbole though folks – this might be my FAVORITE tune of his entire body of work so far – I think “Blue Skies” is extraordinary and outstanding in every possible way. Glenn’s created some really incredible moments in time throughout his music-career so far…and “Blue Skies” is the kind of song that completely confirms there are still many, many more ahead of him. The rumble of the bass and the SOUND of the bass on this cut is a freakin’ glorious thing and worth the price of admission alone – and when you add the dreamy main melody-line, atmospheric synth strings, and gentle beat alongside it…I mean c’mon y’all…this is one spectacularly beautiful moment in time that I’m glad I got to witness. I find such an incredibly uplifting & soul-soothing vibe running through the aura & air surrounding this song…”Blue Skies” is Glenn Murawski at his finest if you ask me. Maybe it’s the advantage of the extra minute it has on any other tune on this record…but I think you can hear it’s much more than just having a bit more time to play with. “Blue Skies” is the perfect example of how music really works fundamentally when we hear it – when you know, you know. And this I know – when that bass starts to make itself known around the 2:20 mark, this incredible idea goes soaring from goodness to greatness right away & never looks back. I know that I love this song & I know there’s a great chance you will too. The amount of tangible emotion, sincerity, and genuinely catchy sound all sparkles, shines, and fully connects to our hearts & minds as we listen to “Blue Skies” – this is one of those songs that dreams are made of.
“Rebirth” will show up x2 to finish off the EP, once with vocals, once without, both equal length and seemingly pretty close to identical for most listeners, with the exception of the singing being the main difference between the two. The instrumental seems to allow the instrumentation to light-up a little more at the end with the absence of the vocals…a few changes in that sense, or a livelier mix that brings out the personality in the sound of this song a lil’ more perhaps. I’ll say this…I’m much more in favor of the end of this record than how it began – I don’t think the “Rebirth (Vocal Mix)” is necessarily a similar song in comparison to “You’ve Got The Right One,” but it does contain a similar approach to the ideas, effects, and mix…and I’d argue this last vocal cut gets much closer to getting the vibe right, if not nails it bang-on. Such a textured sound at work on this record…and certainly within these songs at the beginning & end of Electronic Melodies Volume 2; combined with the avant-garde nature of the vocals, I can fully understand that this particular EP is likely to throw listeners & fans of Glenn’s music for a bit of a loop here on that first listen or two, but I really think there’s full redemption by the end as well. It’s not like we were necessarily singing along before with his past records…but he’s definitely expanding & trying new things here on this record, where some hit the mark bang-on, and others seem to bring him back to a starting-point that he can branch-out from in the future to follow. Personally, I think he’s done a great job with the vocals on “Rebirth” when he sings for the “Vocal Mix” – I like that he’s different, I like that his voice has genuine character, and I really like where he’s chosen to set it inside the mix of this song to complement the music surrounding him. You’ll find his voice acts quite a bit like it’s another layer of sound in the music that stacks up on “Rebirth (Vocal Mix),” and I think that was definitely the right way to approach this tune to get the right results. So I dig that…and quite honestly, I think I probably dig “Rebirth (Instrumental)” just as much when it comes right down to it – I’d really have a hard time choosing which version I liked more. There really is something about the mix of the “Instrumental” that seems to allow the music the opportunity to blossom and expand in ways the “Rebirth (Vocal Mix)” doesn’t…but then of course, you’re trading that for the innovative & inventive way the vocals enter in to the other version. THANKFULLY…like any critic out there, I’m just waxing & waning about points that don’t REALLY matter…you don’t have to choose which you like better at all folks – you can just sit back & enjoy each version, because they’re both right there for ya at the end of this EP. And as much as I would usually recommend not including a song twice in a six-song set, and definitely not featuring it back-to-back in fear of wearing it out exponentially in comparison to the rest of the lineup – I think that’s where Glenn really pulls out a victory at the end here somehow. I never felt the drag of having one song feel like it went on too long – it still felt short and like I could listen to a whole lot more of “Rebirth” in either form; it made for a surprising double-shot of strength at the very end & I dig that.
Find out more about the music of Glenn Murawski at his official page at Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/GlennMurawskiMusic
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