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Review: Music for the weekend 2: Jen Gloeckner’s enchanting grooves (Includes interview and first-hand account)

For this weekend Digital Journal’s London-based journalist offers reviews of two very different albums from two artists at different points in their careers. The first review was of singer-songwriter Otis Gibbs new heartfelt album. This review looks at the new album from an impressive new talent: Jen Gloeckner.

Jen Gloeckner’s new album is called Vine and it takes the listener on a well-crafted journey of absorbing sounds, lush and fresh sounding grooves and intricate arrangements. ‘Journey’ is the operative word, taking the listener on a sonic trip. The music is uplifting, full of lush arrangements and if you’re relaxed the music is transcending. This makes the listening experience all-encompassing, both audibly and with the images that form in your mind. The album positively encourages the listener to enter into a reverie while listening, leading to a dreamy blending of sonic and visual landscapes.

The first thing on listening to the album is how each track seamlessly blends into each other, while their are subtle shifts in tone, the minimalistic beats seem to roll naturally together. Given that the album was recorded in Gloeckner’s Dubuque, Iowa bedroom the album contains some surprisingly complex arrangements leading to some sophisticated pop music.

The second standout is Gloeckner’s voice, which has an ethereal quality, but also edgy at the same time. She sonically paints a sensuous and evocative canvass for the music. The vocals are able to subtly alter with the tunes, again cementing the complete listening experience. This is an album that is ideally listened through in order, in one sitting.

The third thing to note is the variety of the music, which lends the album its atmospheric qualities. The musical pallet takes in a little modern folk, some trip-hop, the sort of lush pop practiced by the likes of Mazzy Star, and a good helping of electronica.

The album opens with the title track ‘Vine’, which is slow, mystical and haunting. The pace rises with the second track, the largely instrumental ‘Firefly (War Dance)’, something that you could imagine Bjork producing at another time and in another place. The third number, ‘Breathe’ showcases the sonic soundscape at its best as well as Gloeckner’s ability to match her vocals to the music to the point of rhythmic perfection. This is followed by a groovy song called ‘Ginger Ale’ that’s hard to keep still to, nicely supported by evocative harmonies. It reminds this listener a little of Massive Attack or Portishead.

The fifth track is ‘The Last Thought’, which has an orchestral arrangement, slowing the pace down again. The sixth song, ‘Blowing Through’ follows on perfectly, and things slowdown further with ‘Counting Sheep’, as the title suggests. Things intensify with ‘Prayers’, which jolts you back from the dream world with some infectious rhythms. This is followed by two more strong offerings, ‘Colors’ and ‘Row With The Flow’ where Jen’s deep and sultry voice takes a captivating center stage, becoming almost hypnotic. There are some good guitar rifts wit these songs too. These tracks move onto the album’s closing track, ‘Sold’. By this time you will certainly be ‘sold’ by the talent on show.

This Vine album is rated 5 out 5. Top tip: listen to it in the dark, wear headphones, push back and relax.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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