Glenn Murawski – Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1 – Album Review
Whoaaaaaaaaaaaa! Hold up here. I might have to call Glenn out for a second.
I was certain my notes here said this dude was a ‘novice’ when it came to making music. After seeing like, seven some-odd official releases online and a career dating back to 2004 – I suppose I should have read further with those notes to see upon which world he’d be referred to as a ‘novice’ of any kind. You kidding me Glenn? It’s time to accept the fact that time + experience + skills + songs like yours = a quality veteran of the scene at this point; we’re about fifteen years or more removed from where it all once began my friend. You’re no longer sitting in music-class Glenn – you’re ready to teach it.
Mmmmm. Did I also mention that six of the seven records I see online came out this year? While the release schedule might be as fresh as the sounds & songs you’ll find – timeline-wise, I’m still not taking the bait here Glenn. You can try to keep this ‘novice’ thang rollin’ and MAYBE you’ll convince a few people out there – but I ain’t hearin’ no ‘novice’ on this new record Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1.
Unless…wait. Did the kids out there switch ‘novice’ with ‘all-out sonic-awesomeness’ like they did with ‘bad’ and ‘good’ years ago? Cause if that’s the case then I agree. Otherwise, no…Glenn’s all-pro, all-day.
I listen to bands like Mogwai…Explosions In The Sky…The Album Leaf…The Dirty Three…Boards Of Canada…This Will Destroy You!…the list could go on & on…you get the idea – I’m well-versed in the universe of sound that you’d be likely to find Murawski’s music thriving in…and you could find this Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1 & the songs upon it happily merging with company just like those I’ve cited here. Glenn makes extraordinary music…genuinely moving instrumentals that expose a tremendous depth of creativity, imagination, & exploratory sound…I honestly found this record captivating. With the ultra-smooth vibes and incredible atmospheres you’ll hear through all seven songs, I wouldn’t be even remotely surprised if someone told me it’s a full week later now than when I first started listening…maybe I’ve been here happily lost in this rad album for days on end & I’ve lost the concept of time altogether. If that’s the case, you’re welcome to leave me here right where I am, thank-you very much.
I almost felt like I knew everything I needed to know about Glenn and the quality he’d bring to his music from the very first ten seconds of the opening of “Mellow” – though of course, the album would go on to reveal I still had so much yet still to learn. Beautifully composed, the strings and enchanting sounds run wildly through the way “Mellow” floats so dreamily along, adding in more intensity and drama to the song as it crosses the 1:45 mark and makes a spectacular transition in mood & atmosphere with the piano boldly supplying key low-end notes & increasing the weight of the impact this remarkable first impression makes on us. What was once serene and chill, now becomes more involved, arguably even haunting at times, while still displaying a STUNNING amount of beauty from the lefts to the rights. No words that I have are really gonna do this tune justice…Glenn’s gone and created a true sonic experience here…the impact of the music of “Mellow” can’t be denied, even for how subtle it may at first appear. At the end of the day, this first impression of Murawski’s music is beyond gorgeous, mysterious, expressive, and highly interesting to my ears…dude’s created a tune that straight-up speaks to the soul if you ask me. And if you had two more seconds to listen to what I was saying, I’d tell ya the same is true of this entire record…the emotional rollercoaster Glenn has put me on has been…amazing to say the least…I think we’ve found another serious gem of 2019 in both this album AND this artist. “Mellow” is mesmerizing, full-stop…check it out for yourself…
Regular readers here know what a fan I can be of clarity & space when it comes to music, and how when it’s used effectively, can actually become one of the best things you’ll hear in the songs of any artist or band. So it’s in saying all that once more, that I can fully exclaim & proclaim my excitement & uncontainable enthusiasm for how a song like “A Reckoning (Redux)” creates such a compelling entertainment while still possessing such a minimalistic set of ingredients at the root of it all. Glenn’s done an exceptional job of morphing the melody and making these songs move without having to overstuff the mix with anything to neon in sound or intentionally driving our attention one way or the other…instead, the fluid movement of a track like “A Reckoning (Redux)” retains a killer amount of organic flow without sounding one bit forced. For digitalized sounds, Glenn’s music sure is impressively natural in that sense…again, maybe even more-so when you consider just how danceable that “A Reckoning (Redux)” becomes at its peak in energy…every bit flashy enough to head straight into the clubs and DJ sets at that point, yet still tangibly passionate, and real. The artistic breakdowns and piano/string combinations towards the end bring this track around full-circle perfectly; Glenn doesn’t just prove he’s beyond a novice-level with making a song like “A Reckoning (Redux),” he proves he’s got a master’s grip on the dynamics of sound, structure, and how to deliver pure entertainment to your ears through progressions that reveal the magic piece by piece. Honestly, there’s not a thing I’d change about anything I heard on this track from production to performance…which is again, true of the album.
“The Lone Soldier” is more of an edgy hybrid in style/sound, leaning much more towards the rock-side of the instrumental music you’ll find on Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1. With choppin’ & crunchy guitar riffs creating the backbone of the melody and mystical electro-elements atop the surface, “The Lone Soldier” finds a unique spot of its own between worlds of sound. It’s gritty…I can totally get why Glenn would have dug an idea like this from the get-go…it’s got teeth to it. “The Lone Soldier” does seem to twist the record for a brief moment into more serious & arguably more complex & involved terrain from an assembly & structure standpoint, but considering where we’ve come to only two songs removed from how “Mellow” started out Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1 – you have to admit it’s more than impressive at how ready our ears are to accept such a variation of sound so quickly. That speaks to Glenn’s ability to lay out a set-list on a record just about as effectively as he creates a song! The flow throughout this gathering of past-tunes revamped, really ends up playing like a greatest hits album of its own right…so much of Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1 packs a punch either through the wild dynamics of sound shifting throughout a song like “The Lone Soldier,” or the more emotional pieces like “Mellow” and “A Safe Place” to come later on in the record – those songs hit you right in the heart. “The Lone Soldier” switches it up in a welcome way though…I think people will really dig the fact that this tune specifically brings a different dimension of sound to the record, yet keeps that high-degree of wildly accessible sound as it shifts through its moody & brooding electro/organic combination of styles.
As far as I recollect in my searching around the net here, “An Image In Glass (Redux)” traces back to the earliest record, called Luminous from back in May of 2018, which featured this tune in its original form. I ain’t saying I’d be scared to go back and listen to the original…I’m sure I will…but I’d also argue it’d be pretty tough to hear a different spin on this track that I could potentially enjoy more than this new updated version as it stands now. Magnificent vibes, atmosphere, and aura surrounding this song – definitely the kind of cut that warrants the re-visit & redux’d treatment it received (I feel this way mind you, about them all)…there’s no doubt at all that an idea like this is still plenty fresh and there’s never a bad time to promote, remix, or re-spin a great tune. Or at least, not that I’m aware of. Beautiful combination of sounds in “An Image In Glass (Redux)” once again, gracefully assembled into a stunning progression that builds brilliantly…mechanically organic in all the right ways. Love the flute-like sounds that seem to drift in on the wind into “An Image In Glass (Redux)” and the incredible amount of activity that’s actually happening throughout the background of this entire song really…it’s impressive that this tune seems as chilled-out & relaxing as it does, when really, this is kind of as hyperactive as it gets too. That’s smart contrast is what that is…and it allows you to really absorb this track on multiple levels as you listen to it…the more you come back to a song like “An Image In Glass (Redux),” the more you’ll find.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road, as they say – “A Safe Place (Redux).” Tough to put into words this one – the tears that this song has induced that have run down my face would likely tell you a better story than I could write down here for you. Like, I’m speechless Glenn – this is an award-worthy tune and a melody that hits home so powerfully that I feel like I could sit here & listen to this one song on repeat, forever. The piano…OMG the piano of this tune is amazing…when “A Safe Place (Redux)” launches out of its mellow candor and blossoms into something so much more majestic & epic, similar to how you’d hear that in a Mogwai song. As much as I’ve enjoyed the first four tracks, I felt like “A Safe Place (Redux)” was also the marker where things got incredibly real…I wouldn’t say overly-serious, just the right amount of tension & drama from here on in actually…but yeah, real as it gets…like we start the final decent to the end of the seven song set around song five towards the finale. I know I’ve said it already, but credit to Glenn where it’s due – he’s laid this album out carefully, precisely, and perfectly – and it’s completely paid off for us as listeners – you’ll glide through this record and be back at song one before you blink. The crystalline fragility of the melody & emotion he’s put into “A Safe Place (Redux)” is truly breathtaking…it’s a moment in time where everything stops around you, and you just sit, listening, fascinated and frozen in place…in true awe of a song that buries itself deep into your heart & soul.
The slower mid-tempo crawl through “Consternation A Constant (Reprise)” will probably take the longest for the everyday listener to quickly latch onto by comparison to the rest on this record – ain’t nothing wrong with that, just facts that speak to the strengths of the surrounding material is all. You gotta understand dear readers, dear friends – on most other records, “Consternation A Constant (Reprise)” would likely be an A-side cut…it’s only here on what’s essentially a greatest hits album that it might fall lower on the list of favorites for a few listeners. Blame Glenn, not me – it’s his incredible material…like I said, he’s got a great tune with this one – he just happens to have even greater tunes on both sides of “Consternation A Constant (Reprise)” – which admittedly, gives it a bit of a disadvantage in helping it stand out as bright as maybe it potentially could. BUT…I felt like it served another, more important purpose in a way…that the character-laden, smooth flow & low-end bass-grooves provided a much needed break to mentally chill out for a moment or two inside these hypnotic movements – because the two tracks surrounding it, are taxing on the ol’ emotions if you get into music as deep as I do. Just like any of the rest of this set though, the repeat value is incredible; it might not be the immediate first-choice of the record for many, but it’s the kind of meaty tune you’ll dig more & more.
What amazed me the most though, was that Murawski NEVER let up in this set of songs…it’s essentially impossible to really choose a favorite – you could make an argument on behalf of ANY of these tunes, and you’d be right about your choice just as much as I would be mine. Since I’m the one here writing this stuff though, we’ll go with that latter scenario – and it’s at the very end of the record, where just by a small but significant fraction, I think you’ll find the purest gem of all the sparkling cuts you’ll find on Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1 – “Enlightenment On The Path (Redux)” is jaw-dropping…fascinating as it gets and equally beautiful. I honestly don’t know how anyone couldn’t be moved by this song – it’s truly full-on amazing, start to finish, captivating in every sense of the word and relentlessly puts sparkling sound straight into your speakers. “Enlightenment On The Path (Redux)” actually reminds me of one of my favorite projects of all-time…a little-known indie band from about…oh good lord, showing my age here…but probably from about two decades ago…called Lyua Dust. Not a band anyone would ever know, so the reference itself isn’t much help other than to point out the fact that, they indeed, made some of my favorite Electro-instrumentals before they disappeared…songs like “Enlightenment On The Path (Redux)” don’t make me miss them so much as thankful for their contribution and glad to hear a new artist like Glenn carrying the torch of a similarly sincere sound. I’m beyond impressed with Murawski’s music – this album was wall-to-wall spectacular and if anything, he needs to give himself a bit more credit…no novice in the world could achieve what he’s pulled off on Revisions & Remasters: Volume 1. Ending the album with one of the strongest possible songs you’ll find in this set with “Enlightenment On The Path (Redux)” was the perfect way to end a flawless experience all-around – I can’t speak highly enough of what Glenn Murawski has created with this record – he’s world-class.
Find music from Glenn Murawski at Bandcamp here: https://glennmurawski.bandcamp.com/music