It’s not unheard of to fill a record with as big a variety of sounds as you can muster. It’s also not uncommon to simply have too much stuff going on but when it all works together the results provide a treasure trove of discovery. Such is the case with Glasfrosch (which may translate as glass frog or green frog) and their album “If you go far enough into the sky you’ll come out underwater”.
Before I talk about the music though, I should mention the incredibly joyous artwork by Nathan Jurevicius of “Scarygirl” fame and Andrea Kang, co-creators of “Harley & Boss” design studio. Google those names when you have some spare time (or while you listen to the album). These illustrations describe the music better than I can but to avoid appearing lazy I will give it a crack regardless.
Art-rock is a handy description which gives you no indication of the sound other than it’s not mainstream and more underground than underground, but it also has a negative connotation of being the work of pretentious wankers and often unlistenable for the sake of it. Yet that’s not the feeling you get listening to Glasfrosch. It’s at times either ambient, rock or pop, at others jazz, at one point has the feeling of a ’60s film set in Paris and another a ’50s sci-fi flick. The one constant is that it’s always intriguing.
Much of the feel comes from its wonderland of different sounds, and with this many, most are used sparingly, keeping everything fresh. Heavy with synth and samples there is also plenty of other instrumentation from all manner of sources including piano, cello, guitar, drums, hubcaps, saxophone, anvil and mechanical typewriter. Vocals are also used now and then, generally with some distortion such as vocoder.
There is a magical, autonomous feel to the songs and the record as if they have a life of their own. Despite clear compositional frameworks there is chaos in the order. Not to the extent that the music is erratic and disjointed, simply that it’s alive, like the jellyfish on the cover going about their business. It’s been out for a while, but after seeing Glasfrosch for the first time a couple of months ago I just had to let you know about this great album. They sound so different live and I wouldn’t class either as a better experience than the other, such is the versatility of the musicians and their songs. It looks like there is new material on the horizon, but before then make sure you sit down, relax, and explore “If you go…”. You won’t believe what you’ll find.