18 February 2012

GlowStone - todo está bien, todo va a estar bien. (2011)

"All is Well, Everything will be OK". From the Mexican city of Queretaro comes GlowStone, project of Jorge Hernandez, started in 2007 with a handful of releases so far, and this ones seems the be the eighth album.

He embraces many styles, from folk to instrumental music for a result which could appear at times as a lo-fi / low scale version of Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Yann Tiersen and at others like drone ambient or more typical folk explorations. 

The biggest surprise is that it is just a solo project, emulating the works of what could be a larger band, and Jorge plays many different instruments : violin, ukulele, melodica, piano, percussions, bass, guitar, xylophone, mandoline, small harp, cello and accordion, mixed with his vocals and environmental field recordings.

Certain tracks seem semi-improvised but still show a special sensitivity. The main problem is the plethora of tracks (15) and the total length of the record (above 80 minutes). All directions followed by Jorge Hernandez are not successful, mostly the folk songs with vocals are too approximate, rough and imperfect and they are globally diminishing the the whole value of this album. 

I much more prefer his intimate instrumental explorations where he escapes post-rock standard for a personal appropriation of atmospheres similar to those previously explored by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra but in a more melancholic, less playful way : "You're a gust of wind", "Bowerbird", "My ship is named after You, Ruth.", "A million wings are waved." and "Dandelion sparks all over your hair". 

His ambient drone / minimal tracks ("The Constellation Sea.", "Every Single Centimeter Of This Lake Is Frozen, Shall We Dance?.", "Un día vi el sol ponerse 43 veces." and "The brief Funeral.") and folk songs ("Your back, the wildest meadow.", "De aquí a Saturno." "Deer Hunter.", "We're so many foxes, We're tired of being few.", "The day that I marry Nastienka." and "Home." ) would be better released as separate projects. 

The problem with Glowstone is mostly about the definition of what he wants to achieve. Up to now, the talent is present, but too much dispersion and dilution make it less noticeable.  More focus, more intensity and a better production would make him able to reach the next level.


  1. i love this album, i really do. and i think, that is actually the improvisation, the roughness and the imperfect of each track what makes it better, and of course not diminishing the value of the record. i am actually tired of bands that sound so perfect recorded but while playing live they are actually dissappointing.

    i also thinks that this is exactly what makes GlowStone different, that this is it's own style.

    and i say this because i had the oportunity to be in mexico and see GlowStone live, Jorge Hernandez and a group of his friends playing sounds almost exactly as the album, so human, so warm.

  2. I understand your point of view, while listening to the record I had the feeling the best way to enjoy this music must be live, and I wish he will fully encompass this dimension in his recordings.