Glou Glou – Hymn Her Hum (Full Spectrum Records)

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Glou Glou

Glou Glou are an experimental duo from the bay Area of California, who call their work “improvised electronic music that is ambient and consonant”. I would not regard it as consonant- but it definitely does explore “timbre and tonality”. They regard it as a type of ‘Free Music’- recorded in one take. I appreciate the intent but struggle the the result from a compositional perspective. I thought the name Glou Glou was interesting, it sparked my curiosity, yet the listening challenged me straight away, I had to refrain from turning off, I wanted to honour the work and artists. As a lover of early 70’s electronic  experimentations, this did not hold much that was new to me, except possibly the experimental use of the Koto.

The album features two twenty five minute sides of improvisation. It is a minimal exploration of sound, with a childlike naivety, as if discovering sound for the first time. Dronal pulsing throbs sound out as the foundation, other sounds seem to try to find a pattern upon which to unfold more order, or experiment. I want them to change the rate or pitch, higher or lower, slower or a bit faster – that would not have irritated me so much.

I found it boring and unoriginal, lacking any sense of compositional depth or skill. The instruments featured processed electronic ambience most definitively, but left me un-inspired. The incessant throb continues, 15 minutes in and it was starting to entrain me as I focused on something else. A three note ascending synth line brings a slight variation, which had me hoping something more was coming. A slight play on reverb and feedback from a processed source instrument provides a just noticeable difference. Feeling their way is what dominates. I appreciate the ethos but hoped for more from experimentalists and improvisers- they could be a bit more adventurous. None the less it can provide a non demanding background ambience to ones duties, it does not demand too much of the listener. The drone becomes the norm, and we experience occasional change without it arresting our attention. I would like to see the experimentalists open up to incorporate more musical and melodic phrasing  even if only sparse.

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About Author

Catherine Meeson is a solo ambient electro / progressive folk rock songwriter/ composer from Melbourne, fascinated by the wealth of brilliance in the musical world.