Glenn Murawski – In The End, We Reap What We Sow – EP Review
I honestly have no idea how this dude keeps his material organized…all I know is that it would be one seriously extreme challenge by now to separate all the remixes, revisions, remasters, alternate versions & whatnot that come along with Glenn Murawski’s music, even for him I’d imagine. He’s created an entire universe of sound for himself to play within after all the songs he’s written & recorded…and from what we can tell, he don’t wanna ever leave it alone for more than a minute. It’s a lot, no doubt. After how much I’ve already written about him and the slight differences that can often be presented from record to record, I ain’t gonna lie to ya…the details are all starting to get seriously fuzzy for me. I can’t keep track of whether or not we’re on our first, second, or fifth helping of any of his songs without doing serious research through his entire catalog almost every single time…and that’s a lot to wade through.
Most of the time my ears are lucky enough to pick up on what they recognize…but even in that instance, I’m still scanning the archives for what feels like forever to see where something might have come from originally. For example, I can recognize a title like the first song called “In the End, We Reap What We Sow” – but to tag it all the way back to the original recording on his Vicissitudes seems like that would require a total recall of epic proportions at this point…part of me wonders just how easy this would be even for Glenn, now that he’s who-knows-how-many records deep into his music career. Realistically, I know that none of you reading would expect anyone out there to keep such close tabs on music in general…but that’s the thing…that’s my method, my process, & part of what’s important to me – Glenn’s about the only person out there that can make me run loops in my mind trying to keep up to him. I’ll admit…it’s hard not to get depressed about that…he’s got the ability to make me feel like I’m hella old – as much as I’m always interested in new tunes, it’s just literally impossible to keep up to this guy 100% and it can be mentally exhausting just trying to keep track of his catalog when listening to his latest as a result. No matter how chilled out or relaxing any vibe might be – Murawski’s music is always an intense exercise in my own brainwork now, no matter which direction I seem to turn or twist these reviews in. I think a lot of the assumptions around music-critics & whatnot is that we write about music all day, every day – so why not write a little more? The truth is I toil over just about every song I hear – and though I’d never claim any of my own work is free from errors, every journey in writing is a challenge from start to finish. Writing about something once is fairly easy…writing about something multiple times is a massive task that most would never realize…factor in the instrumental aspect, and it’s exponentially harder; I’m not looking for sympathy – this is what I do – but to say it comes easy to me would be a straight-up lie.
The title-track, like I mentioned earlier, was originally recorded on the album Vicissitudes – and Glenn’s done an excellent job refreshing this entire cut in its new coat of sound. He’s essentially trimmed all of the fat off of this track, somewhat eliminating about half of the original cut, and pairing it back to the real essence of what made this song connect. To listen to the old version now…I mean…you get WHY he goes through his material so endlessly & relentlessly long after it’s been initially recorded – there are things that can be improved on & strengthened, and “In The End, We Reap What We Sow” is a stellar example of how he’s able to do that. At first my reaction was pretty strong…I listened to it and thought that perhaps not as many changes had occurred as there truly were upon further examination – you see folks? I could have just listened to the new version and left it at that like just about every other reviewer under the sun would have with any artist or band…but that comparison…hearing that evolution in what Glenn does with his material and being able to notice the changes, is important to me personally. The original had such an airy vibe and seems to thin & spread out now…hearing what he’s done to strengthen “In The End, We Reap What We Sow” and the changes he’s made to HOW we hear this song and its main melody is genuinely award-worthy, that’s the facts. He’s taken a good song and made it greater once again…I don’t think there’s anyone out there that wouldn’t feel the update on this title-track came out more resilient, vibrant, and all-around stronger than its predecessor. Solid start so far.
One day, it’s fair to assume “The End Of The Line” will get similar treatment & begin at that first minute mark where it kicks into gear after its supremely lengthy & sparse intro. While I never find myself not enjoying what Glenn comes up with, he’s got a very chill gear that’s dialed right back to the heart of the ambient realm when he wants it to be – and it can be tougher to adventure through material that doesn’t move as quickly as we want it to sometimes. For me, “The End Of The Line” was an experiment in patience…I’m not hatin’ on it by any measure – but it’s a really tough sell to say that this moves the needle of his music that much more forward; this cut’s pretty classic Murawski-blueprint type stuff at the end of the day, tried, tested & true. In defense of the main man here – the average listener out there wouldn’t notice the wear & tear of the effect of repetition in songwriting or style nearly as much as those that are absorbed into every moment of his music…which makes a huge difference. For most, they’ll hear a well-constructed song in “The End Of The Line” and rightly so – that is indeed what it is – but for myself personally in knowing so much of his catalog, this is another decent Murawski tune, and more or less full-stop. What it might make up for in a little lack of surprise however, was the trade it makes for such exceptional production and the depth in the Murawski sound to be found overall – that’s where I felt like “The End Of The Line” stood out the most for me, through its vibrantly textural material.
What I was really stoked about was to find that it was “Deep In Thought” that got the professional video treatment to support it – to me, there was a lot that stood out about this song and its single-worthy potential. Being the first full-scale cinematic Murawski music-video that I can recall – I think he’s made an incredible choice AND I think the video is absolutely spectacular – so spectacular in fact, I liked it just about as much as I liked the song itself. The reality is, the visuals are absolutely incredible…crystal clear with black & white footage & colors occasionally drifting in just enough for us to notice…everything about it is as genuinely thought-provoking as the song is, and makes for a flawless pairing to have put with the song. It’s a highlight example of how music can make an impact on what we see & how we experience things – try checking out “Deep In Thought” with no music and you’ll see a whole lot of really well-shot footage yes – but having the music along with it heightens the drama, intensity, and sensory nature of everything from sight to sound. From what I can tell online…it looks like this whole video-thing might very well become part of Murawski’s next phase of evolution – brace yourselves – he’s already got a new one for his song “Spector” that just came out. You can’t argue with perfection when you see it or when you hear it folks – “Deep In Thought” might appear spacious & sparse, but every note & tone carries significant weight & emotion you can feel along with it – everything you’ll hear makes a resounding impact on our mind as we listen & contemplate its heavy mellow vibes. Glenn has made the right call without question in putting a video to this tune – all-around, I think he got the most from “Deep In Thought” – it’s a brilliant, single-worthy cut and I’m absolutely loving the fact that he’s now shifted his focus into the video realm as well to get the most mileage he can travel with the incredible material he’s got, like this very tune right here, yessir.
As far as I can recall & as far as I can tell, both “Requiem” and “Bright Spots And Silver Linings” are still fully intact and in the original forms that I had reviewed them in earlier this month – click on those titles up there and you can read my thoughts on’em further. Suffice it to say, they both make strong contributions to what’s really quite the tight EP all-around when it comes right down to it – I know I poked a bit at the edges of “The End Of The Line” earlier on, but the reality is it’s still a high quality tune. It might not be a complete A-side for me personally, but if I hadn’t heard Glenn Murawski before and this was my first experience, I’d be extraordinarily pleased with the entire lineup at-large…he’s pretty much at his flawless best throughout this whole set-list. I had great things to say about both “Requiem” and “Bright Spots And Silver Linings” and I stand by those…these advance singles were solid cuts that each flexed a totally different gear. You’ve got the low-key melancholy & mystery of “Requiem,” and the contrasting happiness to be found within the uplifting spirit of “Bright Spots And Silver Linings” – the latter of which gives us a moment of reprieve before we sink into the EP’s finale & most emotional cut.
“Posthumous Reflections” would have initially been reviewed back with the title-track from this record in their original forms on Vicissitudes back in early 2020 when I was still relatively just getting acquainted with Glenn Murawski and the music he makes…long before I fully understood what an insatiable creator he truly is. Not only do I love what he’s done here, but if you were to read my thoughts on the previous version, you’d be inclined to assume he couldn’t have done it any better – and the reality is, he certainly has. The main switch right away reveals EVERYTHING…not just a piece, but the WHOLE thing…the key that had been missing all along, which was simply to adhere to something much more peaceful, reflective, and less dissonant ultimately. When you listen to the original now, you’ll feel like it sounds like a completely warped & bizarre variation of what “Posthumous Reflections” sounds like here on In The End, We Reap What We Sow – it seems like that much of a departure now. While that oddness is so very often entirely appealing to me – I’ve always told y’all I’m a melody guy first & foremost – that’s what connects me to music in just about every genre at its core…and hearing how much it gets enhanced here on “Posthumous Reflections” by straightening out the piano once & for all was an exceptionally smart move on Glenn’s part. It’s the kind of switch that clarifies everything instantly…and displays the superb specialness he’s truly found at the heart of this melody. Loved every second of this update…as hard as it is to all keep straight in my brain, there’s no doubt whatsoever that he proves the effort is completely worth it when he creates such remarkably moving results in the end.
Dude’s got himself a shiny new website too – check it out at: http://www.gmurawski.com/
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