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Album Review: Runner by Glimpse, Playing Electric Pickle on April 23

(Crosstown Rebels)

2009 was a big year for EDM's
new dark horse, UK-based producer Glimpse, AKA Christopher Spero. Despite a deeply-rooted underground sensibility and uncompromising experimental flair, he has garnered plenty of mainstream accolades, including a nomination for Producer of the Year by DJ Magazine. Every once in a while there comes an artist whose artistic integrity and bold innovation align perfectly with their popular appeal, and Glimpse may just be one of these.

He already boasts a number of releases on esteemed international labels like Carl Craig's Planet E, Buzzin' Fly, Cadenza, and his own Glimpse Recordings, but it's the defiantly creative Crosstown Rebels imprint that's putting out his debut album Runner in 2010 to what is sure to be unanimous praise from the EDM community worldwide. While falling technically into house and techno territory, Runner is the work of a broad-minded musician informed by a rich variety of influences, from the experimental improvisation of jazz to the solemnity of world music and elegance of classical ambient. With its ample yet cohesive spectrum of sounds, this LP will make for both fine home listening and club play, and already has the makings of a timeless classic.

The album kicks off with "Walk Tall", a gentle and pulsating marimba arrangement with elegant understated percussion that conjures distant images of Africa. It sets the stylistic tone for an album awash in dreamy colorful references stretching geographically from the soulful house grooves of Chicago, the fervor of Detroit techno, and the exuberance of New York disco, all the way back to the rhythms of Africa, the cradle of it all.

"Things To Do In Denver" is lounge-ready deep house carried by jazzy Rhodes stabs and breezy vocal textures. "New Beginnings" ups the tempo with a fluid and insistent tech-house groove surrounded by a whirlwind of opulent vocal flourishes. "Feel OK" is gorgeous moody jazz emerging from melancholic piano strains and deep sub-bass and breaking into a full-blown Afro-Latin house number.

Many club DJs will probably find their favorite in "Enjoyable Employable", an atmospheric deep tech cut that should be dropped at that most intimate point of a deep late-night set. The album closes off with "Train to Austria", an homage to "Love on a Real Train", Tangerine Dream's ethereal proto-electronica contribution to the Risky Business soundtrack, which is a curious addition to the repertoire, adding as it does another motif to the the album's melange of sounds.

Glimpse will be stopping by the Electric Pickle on Friday, April 23 to perform in support of his Runner release tour, and surely there's no better way to experience this album for the first time than by the auteur's own hand and on the Pickle's pristine sound system.

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Sean Levisman

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