Glass – Spectrum Principle

Previously, I mentioned that “prolific” was not the first word that comes to mind when describing Glass. This update to their GEPR entry will both confirm and refute that statement, as you’ll see below. It turns out I was prophetic in predicting their next album release would be in 2010. No mysterious foreknowledge there, just a lucky (and slightly snarky) guess. Their new album Spectrum Principle was five years in the making after their previous studio release, Illuminations. This seems to confirm the “not prolific” hypothesis. But wait …

I have to admit, Spectrum Principle didn’t really grab me on first listen. Lots of good prog is like that … which is why I always listen to an album at least three times before I decide whether I really like it or not. Right on schedule, “third time is a charm” for this one — for me, at least. There’s nothing about Spectrum Principle that inspires head-banging, nor are there jaw-dropping speed solos or bombastic orchestration. These are simply good instrumental songs, in the five-to-seven-minute range with a few even shorter cuts. Shortish for a prog album, but with each song stating what is has to say in a simple, unpretentious way. My first impression was, “this is a little thin-sounding, isn’t it?” Well, yes, it is. But on the other hand, you can hear every instrument in its place, a refreshing change from some of the over-produced wall-of-sound albums I’ve been reviewing of late. You have to be in the right mood for this sort of thing, but when the adrenaline junkie in you is ready for a break, try out Spectrum Principle for some jazzy yet slightly off-kilter progressive goodness. Mellow without being sleep-inducing. Mature. And a nice addition to Glass‘s discography.

So now’s when we put the lie to the “not prolific” theory. I just received a note from Jeff Sherman saying that their new (as yet unnamed) album has finished recording. This should be a looser, more improvisational album than their last couple of studio albums. The whole thing was recorded in only four days, mostly direct-to-2-track tape with some sections allowing one overdub pass. But mostly it’s “live-to-tape”. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know when it’s released. The current target is spring of 2012, but — well — sometimes things change. I’ll let you know. — Fred Trafton

Click here for Glass‘ home page on the Relentless Pursuit web site

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