Glenn Murawski – The Book Of G: Aftermath – Album Review
Well…there ya have it. Did you retain the ticket for the bets you made? Because if you were gambling on Glenn Murawski outlasting me in this music business thing we’re all involved in, I might just have some fantastic news for ya! SBS reaches one decade old this May…and I’ve got every plan to throw in the towel as quickly as I can after that. So congratulations to our winners, and of course, to Glenn too.
I can’t keep up y’all…consider me as broken as you’ve ever found me dear readers, dear friends. This guy’s already released another 102 songs POST-The Book Of G: Aftermath…and nope, I’m not remotely kidding. About any of this. I am literally limping towards the finish line & ready to walk away for good.
So yep, more music has been made, the world continues to spin, and sounds keep comin’ on outta the speakers. “High Times” starts out The Book Of G: Aftermath…seems like it’s enough fun for me…good spark, good bounce and all that yadda yadda…Glenn’s really heard all this from me before… Hmmm. How about this – it’s a livelier start than you typically find on most Murawski records at the outset. Right on! Drop the balloons and let’s celebrate together, even if we’re all so many miles apart, shall we?
“Break” is a title I can sure get behind right now, yes indeed…heckin’ sounds like a utopian idea. It’s well played, well put together, well assembled, well produced, and more of Glenn Murawski…so I mean, really, again, we’re expecting all that, because he’s a man of genuine quality when it comes to making music. I am a parody of my former self, which is why you can see the quality in what I do has gone nothing but down from day one. So yep, I do in fact need a “Break,” but just a permanent one, NBD. For now, I’ll take it here in song form and be thankful. “Break” is a good tune…not sure if it’s really pushing the boundaries & scope of what Glenn does that much further, but I do like what I am hearing.
Perhaps that’s the overall concern…a “Break” is required, for any type of artist…that’s what creates perspective…and without that, we’re essentially doomed to create slight variations of the exact same thing. I’m just as guilty – I’m nothing but a carbon copy of like, everything I’ve already said a million times…and in some situations, like this, I’m like that carbon copy that barely holds together at the seams anymore. Glenn’s production skills are clearly getting better – a song like “Escalations” would confirm that to any set of ears for sure…spectacular clarity and an award-worthy mix goin’ on in this tune – but based on his recent tweets, I can’t imagine that’s feeling like a victory given how much he hates doing that part of what he does. Anyhow…that’s the case bro, sorry – it sounds great. Ideas-wise…again, I’m not sure there’s really all that much new going on with The Book Of G: Aftermath, but I’m never gonna be opposed to having a listen to more Murawski. Long after I’m done at SBS, I’ll still be listening – I’m a genuine fan. As much as I want the guy to evolve that much further in terms of what he creates, I have to acknowledge the fact that, each time out, he’s kind of giving his fans more of what they want as well. It can be extremely hard to create a serious amount of defined separation between instrumental tunes to begin with, let alone if you were making them as quickly and as constantly as our good friend Glenn.
I don’t know that a lot of what I say gets across…not to Glenn, or to anyone really…and then there’s the like, whole thing about so-what-even-if-it-did-it-shouldn’t-change-ya-anyway stuff on top of that. All I know is this…slowing things down one day, having that perspective, being more objective & all that…maybe that leads the guy to making an album FILLED with track fours…and wouldn’t that be something special? Imagine everything we heard was as wonder-filled & wonderful as what you’ll discover on “Inner World?” That would be one heckin’ amazing world to live in I tell ya. Would we know that though? If there wasn’t just an okay set of three cuts beforehand, do we ever realize how incredible track four is? Do these aspects & elements of an album, the rise & fall, the build-ups & the breakdowns…are they completely essential to one another & vice versa? Part of me suspects they are. Part of me recognizes that we so very rarely, if ever, get to experience the opposite scenario from any artist or band out there…you just don’t hear a lot of records that crack the bat so hard that it’s homeruns throughout the entire lineup. Even when it comes to “Inner World” itself – I’m pretty much neither here nor there about the first two minutes of it! Yet in heading into that mesmerizing, awe-inspiring beauty of the transition into the second minute…I wouldn’t want to trade this experience in for the world. Moments like you’ll find in how special that transition in the melody becomes, how sincere, heartfelt, and real that part of “Inner World” truly is…those are the reasons I’ve been able to keep going. Without finding those, even as rare as they tend to be…I probably would have quit writing years ago. So kudos to you Glenn my good man – once again, that moment of redemption has arrived – I love this cut. As I’ve said many times on these pages of ours, mainly because I’ve become a horrendous copy of my former self, but also because it genuinely applies – sometimes a singular moment can make a whole song worthwhile, or even life-changing. “Inner World” has that dose of melodic magic I love Glenn’s music for, and I was more than stoked to have it revealed in such a powerfully emotional way that it could easily bring people straight to tears. Whatever. I’m not crying…you’re crying…ignore my Kleenex.
A track like “Burning Mind” has me considering two things. On the one hand, I really do like that it’s very much a different experience with Murawski’s music in terms of the sound-selection and what we hear, even if I’d assume that the more scattered design & structure is going to prove to be more of a challenge to the majority of ears out there in comparison to what you usually experience in Glenn’s music. On the other hand…I end up with these sections where sometimes I wonder how much of what I’m hearing is Murawski’s own innovation & skills, versus how much is simply supplied by choosing the right effects, notes, and tones that somewhat do the work for the guy – know what I mean? We all like stumbling on that cool new pattern or sound in our keyboards or program-programmers & whatnot – and there are times in Glenn’s music where I wonder how much of that is a factor…like in that first minute or so…some great sounds in the mix for sure, but not a whole lot of actual movement going on in terms of what has to be played to make all that special magic happen I’d assume. I could be wrong – heck, most of the time I’ve spent living, I’m sure that I’m wrong – I just “don’t want to live the wrong life and then die” – but chances are that I am, that I have been, and that I most assuredly will. In the meantime, I get to enjoy the occasional kickass song along the way. “Burning Mind” gets bonus points for appearing to be different…but at the core of its fundamentals, I’m not as convinced that it really IS.
“Dichotomy” is alright. No real complaints, no real advice, it’s another well assembled Glenn Murawski tune whereby if you already enjoy what Glenn Murawski provides your speakers with, you will find this to indeed be, more Glenn Murawski. Not really sure what to tell the guy on this one…I feel like it’s similar to “High Times” in the sense that it’s a bit more of an energetic spark to this record or more of an aggressive cut than many of the other tracks on The Book Of G: Aftermath, or in his catalog on the whole…but if we’re talkin’ about what makes a track memorable, when he’s already got 102 NEW songs after “Dichotomy” that have come out…I dunno…someone out there understands the point I’m making.
Every time we push record we give ourselves the opportunity to create a track four…an “Inner World” or something undeniably special…I don’t think anyone attempts to be forgettable in what they create, but sometimes that’s the natural effect of burying the world in music week after week. Think of it this way, simple and plain as I can put it – if Glenn is so willing to move on so quickly, then why wouldn’t we too?
I felt like the juxtaposition & contrast created by the quick electro-percussion and the slow sounds moving around it all on “Schisms” was interesting…I dig how large the bigger drums sounds came out as well. Are the people out there gonna feel the same as me, or is this accessible to the masses in any way? I’m not as sure about the answer to that, or if it really matters. It makes for an engaging moment in time that’s different enough from the rest of the lineup on The Book Of G: Aftermath to stand out I’d say…I don’t know that it makes it memorable in the typical sense of the definition, but I’d definitely know I was listening to this track again, even years later down the road, even if I couldn’t recall it by my own memory daily, you follow me? It’s the kind of track where you’d know you’ve heard it before once you hear it again, but not one that you’d likely even be able to hum in your mind after its stopped playing – make sense? Clear as mud? Cool. Then let’s mosey on, shall we? Unique, complex, and truly interesting…there’s art at work here, and I appreciate that, even if it isn’t the most listenable cut on the album. All-in-all, “Schisms” passes by pretty quickly…it may, or it may not add to the experience overall – I suppose that just depends on who ya are & how much Murawski music you’ve heard in your lifetime.
“Bad Day.” Singular! Lucky guy. I’m definitely into the plural at this point…as in many of them…even if they all feel like the same one & I’m living in Groundhog Day, or simulation theory is as real as I suspect it is. I don’t know that “Bad Day” necessarily sounds like a “Bad Day” – it sounds like there’s a good chance you could potentially have an encounter with a Mike Myers, Freddy, or Jason perhaps…which could very well make it twist & turn into a “Bad Day” with all the knives and stabby-stabby stuff…but yeah – I guess I’m not so much hearing a mood here as I am a broader theme, which is totally fine. Not every song we’re gonna listen to is a direct reflection of the title, that’d be insane to begin with, and even still, there could very well be a million other reasons as to why Murawski has labeled this how he has. Maybe it just wasn’t the greatest of days when he hit the studio to create this cut…maybe that’s what makes it a “Bad Day” more-so than the sound itself. To me, he’s got a much more mysterious vibe happening here than a moody one, or anything that suggests this “Day” is really that “Bad” at all…yet. It feels like the danger is definitely looming and that that’s the direction this situation and scenario COULD go…but as it stands right now, I’m just hearing one of the record’s more unique and highly interesting cuts. Reminds me a lot of that skin-crawling feeling you’d find in a track like “The Beach At Redpoint” by Boards Of Canada…where you feel like you’ve found your way into the upside-down, and the unfamiliar.
“Recovery” has all kinds of potential to be a great song when it grows up one day…right now it’s just the seed of what could be. Glenn knows full-well where the most enticing moments of melodic magic are to be found in this tune…as to what’s got him using the most addictive aspects of this song so sparingly is nothing short of pure mystery to me. This would be one of those examples where I’d say making music is a lot like writing a book…chances are, we’ll never see the first draft from any published author out there. They’re gonna write it, have a look over it all, and find those places where the finest details can be drawn out further and expanded on, and tweak things to the point where we feel like they’re capable of nothing BUT magic for every single moment we read. Making music can be a lot the same in that sense…but you’ve gotta have the patience for it and I am not gonna lie to ya – Murawski’s patience level is among the shortest in supply on this planet of ours. To me, I’d be taking a track like this, or any track for that matter really, and before its release, having an objective listen, finding where the real meat on the bone exists, and then rewriting the whole thing to support the main strengths like it had been planned all along from the very first moment. Of course, that’s never the case, but that’s the way it’ll appear. Glenn’s giving you a more inside look at the creative process through what he does and I have absolutely all the confidence in the world that there will be about seventeen remixes of “Recovery” before Russia nukes us all…so don’t panic, there’s probably already four of’em out there online already. The major strengths of “Recovery” are massive strengths…if he can build around those a bit more he’ll find the right path to the heart of what could make this a really special cut in his catalog…the pieces are there. Moving as quickly as he does costs him in the objectivity department, in my personal opinion; and even here in a more delicate setting, this is where you wanna slow things down & really listen to what’s working and what could potentially be enhanced to make the experience that much stronger.
“Real Life.” No Glenn! No don’t do this Glenn. We were somewhat on the right path Glenn…but this ain’t objective yo…what are we doin’ here? You’re not still listening to “Real Life” are ya buddy? Nope. You’ve already moved on…you’re already knee deep in that third record post-release of The Book Of G: Aftermath, and you’ve left us with this as the final cut to this album? How is this enough my friend? This is where things move from perplexing to just downright strange…I literally do not understand why the man would be creating at such a rapid pace only to kind of leave us with an idea that sounds like it’s only half-baked at the very end of his record? That make any sense to anyone else? I appreciate that he’s attempted to add a significant amount of Electro-spark into the energy at the very end…but…I mean…it’s not enough Glenn, it’s just not brother. I ain’t here to stomp on anyone’s nuts if I can avoid it, but you can’t just go leavin’em carelessly under the shadow of my shoes waiting to be stepped on either, right? He knows better than the vast majority of you out there that I’m gonna call things like I hear’em…and once you get to the 1:20 mark of a song that’s 2:16 in length…like…we’ve got less than a minute to pack in what entertainment there is to be found in this track before it’s all over and we’re onto something else. That’s the main concern though my friend…if you’re not giving us a reason to return, especially right there at the end of a record – “something else” is exactly what it’s gonna be…and that’s probably not the desired effect. I cannot express this enough to Glenn…he needs time, he needs perspective, he needs clarity on what it is he’s creating, and a whole large dose of personal objectivity…there’s not a track on The Book Of G: Aftermath that doesn’t show us MORE than he reveals at the end…and that’s a weird way to wrap things up y’all. I’ve gotta hold ya to the standards I know you can reach – each and every one of you, Glenn included…he’s got more in the tank than he’ll show ya at the end of this album – but the real question revolves around what might be stopping him from revealing that to us, in full.
Listen to music by Glenn Murawski at Bandcamp: https://glennmurawski.bandcamp.com
Find out what we do at sleepingbagstudios, and be the next to be featured on our pages by clicking here!