13 July 2010

Vio/miré - march 2007 (2007, Leisure Class)

Vio/Miré is the solo project of Brendan Glasson from Providence, Rhode Island. He is a tour member of the Icelandic band Parachutes. Apparently “March 2007” is already his third album after two limited self-releases. His music is a successful mix between ambient and more traditional song-writing with acoustic guitar and cello.

The songs are sad and slow but always pleasant, never too harsh, with always a nice melodic vibe,. His focus seems about composing melancholic lullabies around his finger-picked acoustic guitar and his whispered intimate vocals. The result is always highly sensitive and lovely, often moving. What makes this album different and valuable is all his work around atmospheres, textures and structures, with the use of reverb, field recordings and synth layers of sounds, all the reflexions hidden behind this process.

On an interview on Minorprogression.com, Brendan was giving this long reply about what were his major influences, and as it explains perfectly why his music is so rich, intense and subtle, and important and meaningful, it's better to cite his reply : “I would cite Charles Ives. Specifically I am drawn to his ideas about combining sounds, indeed combining entire sonic universes, to create textures of richness and ambiguity. Part of an ensemble might play one sort of musical material while, across the stage, the rest of the ensemble plays completely different material, in a different key, meter, and mood, at the same time. I am also attracted to Cezanne’s efforts to create a similar sort of indefiniteness in his paintings, where a single line might represent, for example, both the branch of a tree in the background and the arm of a woman in the foreground. In Providence, being without a vehicle as I am, I have taken to walking all over town. With an active ear I find myself in a constant state of aural transition on these walks. The music coming out of the McDonald’s on the corner raises in volume and becomes more specific in location as I approach. As I pass and cross the street it is overwhelmed by the sound of the traffic, first blending, then fading, then vanishing. A murmur in my left ear becomes conversant groups of people sitting outside of the cafe as I walk still further. Entering the cafe is too overwhelming to describe with this level of sensitivity. I’m interested in exploring these sorts of ideas in my music, though I typically restrain myself to only the briefest moments, where one song overlaps and overtakes another, or where one musical passage is interrupted and overcome by a harmonically unrelated one. More than specific bands or kind of music, I find myself most driven and inspired by ideas. And I do not purport to express these ideas on my recordings. Rather, these are the sorts of things that keep me most interested in and excited about music.”

While listening to this record, I think of other american bands like Trouble Books, Six Twilights / A Weather, Talons'. Like them, he explores a broader range of music instead of just entering the folk indie genre. His experimentations around ambient, soundscapes forms have the same level of achievement and depth than his folk melodies, and the interactions between the different styles is what makes his music pertinent.

Dividing the project in two, half of the songs are guitar/vocals and the other half is of instrumental soundscapes, would diminish the interest and instead it is in fact this combination that augurs for promising developments, maybe even an integration of both. “March 2007” is a very intriguing records and there resides the biggest success of Brendan Glasson, a melancholic tension and dissatisfaction, which push him forward.

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