9 June 2008

daniel & i are often amazed at the talent & creativity of our friends. we feel blessed to have our lives intertwined with so many artists-visual, painters, photographers, musicians, textile-who enrich our lives & inspire us to create.

one of these artists is our dear friend, mike. mike & i (amanda) were in the same kindergarten class in upstate new york & (even though my 5-year old self said mean things about a picture of his dad, which he has not yet forgotten) we have managed to remain friends ever since. it was a real treat for daniel & i to reconnect with mike & his wife, maren, while we lived in nyc.

recently, mike a.k.a. glass animal sent us his newly released album,
patterns. the album was made during the month of February 2008 as part of the RPM challenge, an annual event based out of Portsmouth, NH that challenges people around the world to complete a full album - writing, recording, mixing, artwork - all in just one month.

i highly recommend you give it a listen (you can download it without guilt, because of the
Creative Commons License). It can be found at glassanimalindex.com/patterns/

to tickle your listening fancy, i'll leave you with daniel's review of the album...

As far as quality music goes Patterns easily holds a place in my collection of strictly quality music. I think it does this, first, by clearing a couple of baseline hurtles. Here's the baseline test, on the first listen, nothing stood out as awkward and forgivable because I know the guy. It's clean all the way through. There are no little things that I think I would change but wouldn't tell Mike about because I don't want to hurt his feelings.

In addition to being something that is not unpleasant to listen to, it has a lot of of really good hooks. I know it's not a pop rock album and the thing is really more texture than melody. However, there is a dependable rhythm and feel to the texture of the album. This makes an excellent platform for the understated melodies. The beauty of which, in my opinion, is the suggestions they evoke, leaving the imagination free to interpret where the song is going rather than overstated melodies that patronizingly lead the listener by the hand. The sparse and simplistic lyrics have the same effect. This album really hits the nail on the head with the less is more approach.

This album really stands out as a
piece of art. To the extent that I know Mike, he is an optimistic guy. One thing that I find quite rare in music, is optimism that can be taken seriously. Because our collective image of an artist is someone who is tortured and bears the weight of the misery of the universe all of which is being pushed through him like a meat grinder (his art being that tasty ground beef that makes up the radiohead and bright eyes burgers that we chow down alongside the sorrows we're drowning) nobody knows what to do with optimistic art.

In Patterns
, I find an optimism that I don't need to blush at. It's a believable optimism, which perhaps is so believable because it is spoken through suggestion, not hyperbole.