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Glisten
     

Glisten

by Songs from a Random House
 
New York's Songs From a Random House continue to confound on the shape-shifting Glisten, their sophomore release for eccentric indie label Bar/None. The ukulele-led quintet manage to fuse progressive bluegrass, jazz, folk, and pop into a single organism, resulting in a sound that's as frustrating as it is electrifying. Leader Steven Swartz waxes poetic -- and

Overview

New York's Songs From a Random House continue to confound on the shape-shifting Glisten, their sophomore release for eccentric indie label Bar/None. The ukulele-led quintet manage to fuse progressive bluegrass, jazz, folk, and pop into a single organism, resulting in a sound that's as frustrating as it is electrifying. Leader Steven Swartz waxes poetic -- and not so -- on everything from weight loss to the joy of pillows in a voice that's eerily reminiscent of Scott Walker. In fact, many of the melodies, cadences, and arrangements on Glisten recall Walker's early-'70s experimentations with jazz, country, and soul, but they require patience as they're far too meandering to engage on the first listen. Swartz is at his best in mid-conversation, filling in the spaces with rhetoric that sounds like the Magnetic Fields' Steve Merritt doing his best Lou Reed, and while he may struggle for pitch, there's a cool effortlessness to his delivery of a line like "It's time you grow up/there's a lot/that you don't know/the taste of crow" that allows the listener to forgive the occasional warble. Musically, the group is top-notch, applying endlessly creative parts over Swartz's musings -- the string leads on "End of the Year" and "I Feel Love" are particularly rousing -- and providing Glisten with the kind of musical pedigree that will win over countless numbers of Béla Fleck, Bill Frisell, and Pentangle fans. The adventurous would do well to seek out this innovative group.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/24/2004
Label:
Bar/None Records
UPC:
0032862015625
catalogNumber:
156

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Songs from a Random House   Primary Artist
Alan Drogin   Organ,Ukulele,Various,Lap Steel Guitar
Steven Swartz   Organ,Ukulele,Vocals,Baritone Ukulele
John Bollinger   Percussion,Drums
Gregor Kitzis   Violin,Viola
Debby Schwartz   Vocals
Jason DiMatteo   Upright Bass

Technical Credits

Donna Summer   Composer
Giorgio Moroder   Composer
Pete Bellotte   Composer
Steven Swartz   Composer
Alan Roche   Cover Photo
Tamir Muskat   Engineer
Danny Shatzky   Engineer
Ken Krasner   Vocal Engineer,Vocal Producer
Ned Wharton   Producer
Ned Wharton   Audio Production

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