Glåsbird – Grønland


Lazy journo Wikipedia Alert!

Gunnbjørn Fjeld (also called only Gunnbjørn) is Greenland‘s highest mountain and also the highest mountain north of the Arctic circle.

It’s also the first track on this Greenland-inspired ambient masterclass.

Treated violin, piano and cello – all drowning, or at least slowly sinking in plump reverb are scored in very still waters in this excellent physical edition from Whitelabel Recordings. With a little nod to The Tired Sounds of Stars of The Lid, this site-specific release is an arctic-circle, glacially moving enterprise and I promised myself that I wouldn’t use the word glacial!

But it is so glacial. It’s a soundtrack waiting for Blue Planet Three to be commissioned – which is the strength of the release – and if there’s one early criticism, it’s that it is a very clean, glossy, slick production. I wanted to hear a little more silt, grit and maybe field recordings in the release. I say that, having had it on repeat for a week, and it’s gone down well in the living room, with the lava lamp and wood burner on. I’ve used it to fall asleep to – which is no easy task with me, where serious meds are usually the only soporific influence on me.

I don’t know who Glåsbird is. So I went to the bandcamp. Seems Harry from Whitelabel is none the wiser either:

Two releases in and whilst we’re no clearer as to who is behind this project, it is clear that Glåsbird is becoming synonymous with storytelling and specifically travel or migration, if you prefer.

Well, it’s a gorgeous release. Tundra loops along with gravel-static and the kind of noise shards of ice would make if you are the kind of artist that takes them, adds contact mics to them and painstakingly uses the outcome for ambient pleasure. Or they may be the result of a nice synth patch.

Björtskálar dreams of its Hardanger fiddle cousin over the sea somewhere, but we are still firmly on the ice sheets (and in the bed sheets?) as a kind of plucked lullaby loop keeps this big baby half asleep (again, no insult).  Hvítar Fjöll continues that mood but dawn breaks after something a little seismic has occurred the night before, maybe a chunk of ice shelf has fallen off. Kaltsvið is higher in the register showing a little rare light to stave off the S.A.D. light and finally Norðurljós is all about calm-with-content. It’s calm but there’s still gravitas here.

Let’s talk about the package.

Firstly check out this guy’s instagram: Lennart Pagel lives the life I should have had. He’s the master of mountain/ice photography and swans around the most beautiful spots on earth making the most beautiful images. The cover of this record features one of his images, of a hut, a house, constructed in blue corrugated Iron – the most incredible Virgin Mary blue hue – in front of the world’s best view.

The only thing missing from this record is a vinyl gatefold release. The original album on LP1 and a suite of remixes on LP2 including one from me.

It would clean up. Harry, get to it.