The Glimmer Room - Tomorrow's Tuesday
Now officially released on Neu Harmony, The Glimmer Room's Tomorrow's Tuesday creates a mood all its own
The Glimmer Room (a.k.a. Andy C. and guests) has released "Tomorrow's Tuesday", an album of short form electronic music on the Neu Harmony label (nh024). The album was written, performed, and produced by Andy C., with a few guests.
I received a package in the mail from Andy and anxiously tore it open: it was the officially pressed version of "Tomorrow's Tuesday". I was immediately stunned by the sensational artwork of this CD. It is a painting of a mannequin, and this image along with the muted colors used all over the CD cover reflect what's going on in Andy's music. I don't know how, as they're just colors, but the whole package comes together nicely and professionally.
The sound quality of this official CD is clear and hiss-free, even though this was largely a home-made effort. I know that Neu Harmony and Andy worked to get the songs, the order, and the sound quality just right.
The music on this CD is what I'd call "short form electronic music," and you get plenty of it at 14 tracks. It's 99% synthesizer and sampler, and "Sweet Smell of Cloves" gets some vocals. The "vocals" on "Tomorrow's Tuesday" are a few whispers or sampled, chopped chants, a-la Enigma. The picked acoustic guitar on "Terminal Individuality" blends right in.
"Tomorrow's Tuesday" is tune oriented rather than synthesizer oriented or improvised sequencer stuff, so it's not really Berlin School. Instead we have what I've referred to earlier as "light techno", largely because many of the songs use a heavy kick drum sound. But the songs are quite far from techno, and they're not "New Age"; there's an edge to them and a steady beat that keeps them somewhere in the middle, and quite accessible to most anyone. In reading my earlier review, I used the phrase "a little dark but semi-sweet and always moving", and that phrase is still apt.
Andy does a superb job of putting together his tunes. Start with a drum line that's varied and interesting, add a pad, sequence, or keyboard chord line, and add a tune on top. In addition you'll get some interesting synthesized or sampled sounds, such as the Mellotron, Fairlight, Yamaha CP80, or the sample of a baby giggling in "Last Deep Breath". Stereo bounces are heard now and then. It winds up being a very full soundstage where you can hear little things going on, but it all comes together.
This CD always evokes a pang of longing when I listen to it. Its music communicates to me the image of someone who is always searching for or longing for something, but what that is I don't know. We go on with a steady beat, but the songs never break through into a crescendo or resolution, there is just more of this searching. I don't know if that says more about Andy or more about me the listener. :-)
If you like short form EM tunes, thoughtfully put together, aren't New Age fluff but aren't heavy, that won't get in the way when you're involved in other things, this CD is an enjoyable listening experience. You may find your toe tapping, and you may be humming along with it, and that's OK.
Here's the original review I wrote in 2001 of a CD Andy C. sent me. Many of the tunes are featured on the official release.
CD-R by Andy C. a.k.a. Flittermouse a.k.a. The Glimmer Room
1) Last Deep Breath (4:10)
I put Andy's web site and e-mail address out onto my "other amateur EM artists page" as soon as I heard the song samples he had available. Here's a guy who can take a modest equipment setup and turn it into a collection of short-form electronic music which is wonderfully arranged, not too heavy, and quite listenable.
The sound quality of this home-brew CD-R, although good, is about the only thing I found slightly lacking, with a bit of hiss tossed in there for good measure. It's OK - the content easily surpasses the medium it's on. So now that that's out of the way...
If you drop by The Glimmer Room web site and listen to the song samples there, you'll get a darn good idea of what the rest of "Tomorrows Tuesday" is all about. I have been calling it "light techno" for whatever reason, and I think it's because Andy is most adept at percussive arrangements and uses the more modern synth sounds for them. But the music itself is anything but "techno".
Each song has a strong and varied drum sequence throughout and usually a tight synthesized bassline filling out the bottom end. Layers of keyboards, pads, leads, and even some Mellotron samples build up each song. And every now and then Andy throws in something unexpected, like a heavily processed dog bark on "Every Day I Die for your Body."
Every song has a great hook and is very listenable, although Andy keeps things just interesting enough to prevent the tunes from becoming "ear candy". This ain't no New Age stuff! It's a little dark but semi-sweet and always moving, if that's a possible combination. The synthesizer sounds used vary all over the album, and that's one of the things that makes this album a winner for me: despite the short form of EM employed, you've got tremendous variety in tunes and tones. Just the overall semi-sweet theme sticks for the whole CD.
Two songs ("Cloves" and "German Filmstar") feature vocals. "I'm in Love with a German Filmstar" conjures up images of OMD or Depeche Mode for me. Andy's voice fits in well with the synthesizers behind it.
"Tomorrows Tuesday" is arranged very well. Andy takes a lot of time with his recordings. I had early copies of some of the songs, and some elements had been removed or rearranged a little for this CD, meaning Andy had spent time working on the songs and getting them just right. The percussion reminds me of when I first heard Free System Projekt and how I admired Marcel Engels' use of percussion and synthesizer sequences. And the synthesizers are layered thick on "Tomorrows Tuesday" - there aren't really any holes in the mixes, but at the same time it's not overpowering.
Catchy tunes, lots of synths, samples, tap-your-foot beats...What you'd want from short-form EM you can just toss on and listen to anytime.
Andy is currently selling this CD-R from his web site. Contact "info" at the domain the-glimmer-room.co.uk.