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Diamond Gloss

  Fluttery Records  
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Wow, this record really takes me back, all the way back to the late 1990s / early 2000s, when the possibilities in electronic sample-based music had expanded and everyone with a MacBook was twisting, distorting, and looping sounds. Yes, Bears is an old-fashioned glitch album, if you can believe it. And, gentle reader, you have no idea how surreal it is for me to refer to glitch as something "old-fashioned". The progression of time is a bizarre thing, really.

Bears is the debut album of Gonšalo Pereira, who is apparently Portuguese. This is his debut record under this name, although apparently he was in a post-rock band with the awesome name How Come the Constellations Shine. Past history aside, this is a pretty engaging release that i think will appeal to glitch and post-rock fans. I can hear a little Sigur Ros and Lights Out Asia alongside the Autechre and Boards of Canada in his sound.

Pereira builds his music out of manipulated layers that drone and stutter against one another. The record almost plays like a remix album, like someone with an Autechre fetish had taken some demos from Sigur Ros and made a whole new record out of them. Yeah, it's pretty cool.

However, i know that this music will not appeal to everyone. The songs are long and slow, often droning, and the rhythm is not anything you could dance to, or even really bop your head along to. It is, however, very interesting music for listening to on headphones.

Pereira works in long form songs, which tend to try the patience of pop music fans. Of the eight songs on this record, four of them are more than ten minutes in length. This is music that requires a bit of patience on the part of the listener.

I think the best track here is the eleven minute Canadians. It has layers and layers of tinkling sounds, as well as some type of percussion that sounds like one of those gourds covered in chain mail that you shake -- what are those called? Anyway, it's a really pretty song. There is a piano driving the melody, some strings, and in the background some kind of echoed hit of something, like a drum underwater. As the song progresses, that tapping sound grows, almost becoming a creaking drone like the weird rope sound in Orbital's The Box (the really long, version -- i think the swinging rope sound is around day two of that version...) Anyway, fascinating stuff.

I also like Filter Fat Corner, which is the sound of a piano stuttering itself to death. This is the glitchiest song on the record, just a mass of samples all cut and pasted. Fawns, on the other hand, is the most straight-forward post-rockish song here, just layers of drone and piano, with bird sounds in the background. The piano is often un-affected on this song, reminding me at times of George Winston. Lovely, and probably the most approachable song on the record.

The relatively short (six and a half minute) Argyle Square is another standout. There is a squealing, heavily distorted (guitar?) sample in the foreground, alongside a nice layer of tinkling keys, then some good drumming in the background. The layering here is very nicely done, especially when you listen on headphones. Pereira knows what he is doing, but be warned that the squealing sample might get on your nerves.

I find that i enjoy this record, but it isn't exactly the newest thing out there. It does hearken back to the late 1990s, so if you are nostalgic for that time, you definitely need to hear this.

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