Glenn Murawski – Posterity Wanes – EP Review
At this point I’m sure this man needs no introduction to you readers of our pages…Glenn Murawski has been letting loose the tunes all year long, and in fact, if you look just a few frames over to the right of this very review on our main page right now, you’ll find a review of his last record Absolver there waiting for ya. Serves me right for taking a week off of writing these things eh? If this dude was as busy as he’s been pre-pandemic…one can only imagine what his output might prove to be like during our quarantine.
Usually it can be pretty tough to continually review an artist’s or band’s music when it comes in waves like it has been for Glenn – even tougher when you take away the lyrical aspect & you’re talking about instrumental tunes, which is the case in the vast majority of times we’ve heard Murawski’s records & songs. That being said, he’s got a couple of solid advantages that get him around what might have normally proven to be an obstacle…he bounces between themes and ideas between records, which keeps you guessing as to whether or not each new recording has a more focused & set path, or more of a construct of creative art pieces. He also has the advantage of making music I personally dig on, ranging from ambient to orchestral instrumental arrangements, both digital & organic in the mix for ya.
Lastly…and in the case of the Posterity Wanes EP this is key…sometimes this dude just wants to challenge himself as an artist, let the tape roll, and see what sticks to it. So let’s be real here Glenn…let’s fill the people in on ALL the details here shall we? Lest anyone think I’m slacking or have no other artists or bands in the world to write about besides Murawski, to be fair, he wrote this record in FOUR days. So…I mean…if you do the math…and I took seven days off of writing reviews and it only takes him four days to write a record…then…umm…Jesus Glenn! If my math is correct, I better get writing because you’re already probably finishing up your next EP if the whole quarantine effect hasn’t already sped up the process. Jokes aside – I’m both jealous and envious that this man is capable of so many great things.
The natural conclusion you’d likely draw to without having even pushed play is that no record that takes four days to create would compare to the records he’s painstakingly put together with more time in the past – and that’s true; I’ve listened and I’m not gonna claim otherwise. In fact, I’d think it would be somewhat of a disservice to the efforts he’s made with his previous work to rank this up there with his very best…BUT…let’s be clear about a couple things here – one being that even a B-side from Glenn Murawski would be better than what most records have to offer, and these STILL aren’t those – and the other thing being, most importantly…I don’t think you make a record like this with that intention in mind. I don’t think you go into a four day pow-wow and think you’re going to come out with the most defining work of your career…but that isn’t to say it’s any kind of waste of time whatsoever; it’s a different, unique, artistic, and challenging approach that can actually further your art & speak for your music in a whole host of other positive ways. And BESIDES all that anyhow, if you grew up back in my day, you know full well that you take your most kickass songs from the EPs you’ve put out and make an even more kickass full length record with a couple new cuts later on down the road. Ain’t that’s what EPs are supposed to be for? Alright, alright…I get it…we’re a few steps removed from that world now.
Anyhow…all I’m saying is, for all of four days, he should certainly be proud of what he can accomplish as an artist for starters…and secondly, he’s still come out with a very listenable record from beginning to end. “Strident Respite” opens the Posterity Wanes EP with a delicate-but-dramatic build throughout its first minute or so, before adding in an essential layer of guitar & digital beat that’ll send this whole track in a different direction. There is an element of two worlds of sound colliding a bit more than collaborating with each layer at times, but at others you’ll find it produces quite a gripping & encompassing atmosphere. For myself personally, I found myself appreciating the beginning of “Strident Respite” the most, but I also wasn’t opposed to the combination Murawski goes on to create with the added instrumentation in its second-half.
“A Nice Dream” was instantly appealing to me. I dig its bass-led melody and the accenting keyboard/synth notes on top…the burst into the beat around the 1:30 mark starts to solidify a mix between Dream Pop and Post-Rock that really worked for me. Where I think “A Nice Dream” meets its biggest struggles are in what you would likely describe as the main hook, which rather than be short & succinct, is actually fairly lengthy…and for some listeners, that’ll prove to be a challenge for them and could feel like Glenn is wandering a bit unfocused. I felt like the biggest hooks were completely upfront in “A Nice Dream” when all was said & done and I’d listened to Posterity Wanes a few times over – because that’s precisely where you’ll find a whole set of great ideas and spectacularly crystal clear sound coming together so perfectly that you won’t even dare to move a muscle while you listen. THAT is the kind of captivating you want just as much as I do when you’re listening for sure. Again…I’m not opposed to the progression in the structure as it fills-in musically and carries on…in fact I think it’s much more of a fit than we experienced with “Strident Respite” in respect to each song’s most major transformations – but…if I’m being entirely honest, I’m not so sure I ever felt like the latter three-minutes of “A Nice Dream” fully caught up to the mesmerizing pull of the way it began. When the strings come into play towards the finale, I start to feel a bit more attached to the overall combination…but before that, I felt like the more bare-bones “A Nice Dream” was like it is at the start, the more attention it deserved.
“Mental Forays” was a strong song in this lineup for sure…very meditative and trance-inducing on some levels…or maybe that’s just another way of coining the term fascinating into something different…but you likely get what I mean; you slide easily into this tune and stay locked right into it. Brilliant use of vocal samples in this cut..expertly laced-in over the course of the final minute; other than that, you’ll find that “Mental Forays” stays fairly within the lines it draws at the start – and in this particular case, I think that’s a great thing. Sometimes you want that extra layer, sometimes you want to stay locked into the groove you’ve latched onto – and us reviewer-types like me are infamous for wanting one of those things at one moment and something entirely different the next – but for what it’s worth, I felt like every progression and step forward made on “Mental Forays” hit the mark bang-on. It’s stoic in its demeanor, attitude, and mood…on an instrumentation/sound-level, sure, it actually changes quite a bit. Most noticeably, right around the 2:45 mark, you get that most significant twist in the direction of sound as Glenn adds in another layer of melody on top of the surface – and from here on, aside from a few more ambient tweaks and low-end added into the surrounding atmosphere, this is the boat we’re rowing in until that vocal-sample I mention shows up at the end. You get a solid two-minute chunk where the biggest changes could be described as subtle as best, but absolutely everything you’ll hear makes an enormous contribution, no matter how small that change or additional sound may actually be. Very well crafted, constructed, and executed.
“Secular Divinity” is probably going to prove to be the biggest challenge for most listeners out there with its multi-directional sounds pingin’ & pongin’ between the lefts & rights as the main melody twinkles in your ears. Glenn’s asking a bit of the average set of ears to follow him down the rabbit-hole of this imaginative cut…and of the four tunes, I’d wager a guess that this might be one of the biggest learning experiences to be had from the bunch. I’ll put it to you this way…there are a whole lot of truly appealing sounds in this song; there are also a whole bunch of truly appealing things in my fridge as well, but that doesn’t mean I just up & put’em all into the same bowl, you feelin’ me? “Secular Divinity” will give you a moment or two with your favorite spot in this song, but it likely won’t last two long before Glenn finds another element or two to add to it. In some respects, it creates quite a unique & colorful collage that takes genuine work for your brain to parse-out & understand what makes it all happen…but in other ways, there’s a chance that this non-aggressive wall of sound might prove to be too overloaded for some. Not every tune in the world needs to be perfect…”Secular Divinity” reveals a few odd choices that, after listening to an extensive amount of Glenn’s entire catalog at this point, felt like he might not normally make with the time to sit back, be objective, listen, and re-examine, as opposed to crank out a full record in four days. And don’t get me wrong – I’ve been there myself, many, many times; it used to be a hobby to go crash my buddy’s place for the weekend and try to get a whole album in. The results were much similar, though I prefer Glenn’s music much more than my own…you get these flashes of brilliance that likely couldn’t be duplicated any other way through the ‘normal’ process of recording, but you also end up with the tiniest quirks that end up defining a song later on down the road, when you’ve finally got the time to look back on it. I suspect “Secular Divinity” will be one of those tunes that Glenn looks back on and will grin at for its inspired level of creativity and ambition, even if it didn’t quite hit the intended mark. Would I advise him to never go about making a record in four days ever again? Hell no! Make’em in four days, make’em in fourteen days, make’em in fourteen months or fourteen years, you won’t find me complaining – just keep on creating & never, ever stop. Glenn ain’t gonna anytime soon.
If you’ve found this EP a little more uneven than his past recordings, have no fear, Murawski has saved a “Bastion Of Hope” for you at the very end of Posterity Wanes. To me, this was almost like the polar opposite to “Secular Divinity” right beforehand, and remarkable redemption at the very same time; “Bastion Of Hope” is such a well thought-out and moving tune that Glenn almost couldn’t have ended this EP any other way. Maybe it exists in sole contrast to “Secular Divinity” – a graceful, bold, and effective musical statement that proves time is only one of several factors to be considered when it comes to the art of making music…that existing in the moment, just like Glenn is inside of this final track, can lead to spellbinding results you just couldn’t make with endless second-guessing and self-examination. As a solo artist, sometimes you just need to let go…”Bastion Of Hope” is the sound of that in action if you ask me…this is Murawski at his organic best, investing his soul into every second; you can hear it in the emotional texture of the music, and you can absolutely hear it in the way he plays. It’s an example and proof that time likely doesn’t even matter at all when you’re at the real heart of creation; I felt like “Bastion Of Hope” was stocked full of revelatory sound & even felt like it could be some sort of creative breakthrough by Glenn happening here. Let’s not forget…for most people making their bed four days in a row would prove to be an insurmountable challenge – Murawski’s busy making music and gettin’ it DONE y’all…to hear something come out this right when you know how little time he had in creating this record is more than impressive – it speaks to how naturally this all comes to him and how dialed-in Glenn is between his ideas and turning them into reality through his songs. Ultimately, it’s tunes like “Bastion Of Hope” that will immediately have you re-spinning this record, wondering if it was all just as fantastic as this last cut and you missed that somehow on that first spin through it…and maybe for some of you that’ll turn out to be the case. What I personally think, is that Glenn Murawski has another fine record on his hands here with the Posterity Wanes EP…a good one if not a great one by his own standards & measure…but well worth a listen & your time, just like everything this man creates truly is. This EP might have more defined highlights that stand out from the rest like “Mental Forays” or “Bastion Of Hope” do in comparison to the others in the lineup…but the rest of the tracks still shine in their own unique way and offer several moments of enticing ideas to listen to along the way too. While Posterity Wanes might not get cemented in stone as his most career-defining record, it’s still another solid chapter in his overall story as a musician & tells a true tale of its own, justified by its own existence.
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