Glowpeople do indeed create music that glows. I have a minor neurological anomaly called synaesthesia. What happens is that stimulating one sensory or cognitive pathway will lead to an involuntary experience in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In my case, I ‘see’ music in colours. No chemical enhancements required. And let me tell you, when I listen to the music on Glowpeople’s debut album, Things, I see some very beautiful colours. They are like the lights I would imagine illuminating some psychedelic jazz club in the heart of a European city, from long ago. Bright, dazzling colours infused with moody shadows and grey wisps of smoke. It’s both stimulating and calming at the same time.
Glowpeople began as a UK based collective of musicians back in 2010, finally coalescing into the stable line up that plays on this album: Chris Hill on trumpet; Mark Burgess on guitar and effects, Chris Cordwell on keyboards, bleeps and loops; Nick Raybould on drums and percussion and Robot on bass guitar. Their Ozric Tentacles meets fusion era Miles Davis approach works in all the right ways. Each track, from the funky 4-minute workout of Resound in H Flat, to the lazily swirling moodiness of the 9-minute Metaphorical, has its own distinctive feel. But there is this great psychedelic playfulness that ties it all together. Glowpeople don’t possess the same manically intense energy of an Ozrics performance, they do possess a striking energy of their own. That energy is just directed in a different way. The music’s very rhythmic nature can be almost trance inducing. Add to that the smoky, late night trumpet playing of Chris Hill, and the waves of psychedelic sounds and effects, and you have music that may just invoke a little of that synaesthesia I mentioned. No chemical enhancements required.
I’ve heard the term ‘psychedelic jazz’ bandied around a lot over the years, often to describe music that doesn’t sound exactly psychedelic to my ears, or maybe I should say doesn’t look that way to my eyes. But the music on Things is, indeed, music that I can apply the term to with great enthusiasm. Give this album a spin and get into the glow.
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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald