Double Take: Glow Curve – Pedantically Progressive.
I first heard the name Glow Curve in an article Wang Ge wrote about Raying Temple back in June. A soundcloud link at the bottom of the article had 5 songs from different groups that play at the music space out in Tongzhou – including Glow Curve, who are currently in residency there. I have to say out of the 5, Glow Curve’s track ‘A Song for Raying Temple’ was the only one I actually liked! I earmarked them as a must-see band, but due to the fact they rarely play in the city, and then usually out at D22, I haven’t yet been able to catch them.
Ruby on Glow Curve
Glow Curve (formerly Maze) have been around since 2007, but this is their first album and though they’ve created it themselves it really doesn’t sound like a low budget home made job. I’m loving instrumental post-rock at the moment and this album has slipped seamlessly into a playlist that also includes Hua Lun, Wang Wen, Zhao Ze and others. The tracks are just gorgeous, they sound like they could be the score for a movie. There’s very few vocals, a just little on ‘Flowers of Godmother’ and the addition of Samuel L Jackson’s ‘Ezekiel 25:17’ quote from Pulp Fiction in ‘Floating Mountains’. This style of math-rock/post-rock is often criticised for the musicians not knowing how to play their instruments and creating simplistic repeating melodies. That’s not the case with Glow Curve, their songs are a complex layer of different instruments and sounds. After listening to the album though, I’m not sure I still want to see them live. I’ve been disappointed in the past by other similar bands, who don’t try connect with the audience and just play their music without speaking or interacting at all. There’s a distinct difference for me between bands I like to see live and bands I like to listen to at home. I think Glow Curve could fall into the later group, which is not a bad thing, they’d be in the company of others such as Lonely China Day.
I love this style of music, but I’m interested to see what BD thinks of this one. Having watched his face when he first listened to it, it could be an interesting review!
BD on Glow Curve
The first time i took Glow Curve for a spin, it was painful.. literally music to slit your wrist by. Subsequent listens were slightly better but not by much! The record clocks in at about 50 minutes with just 6 songs with the shortest one being over 7 minutes long. Long numbers tend to be somewhat elaborate compositions and this ain’t no exception. It’s very ambient, slightly melodic but it never came across as an album to me. It sound more like a movie soundtrack that’s missing the movie… probably the movie playing in the band’s head that none of us is privy to, especially not me. The low occurrence of vocals is not helping it much. The one track that comes close to making it into my playlist is “Floating Mountains 浮山”… One thing I do like is that they manage to fuse the scrappy DIY sound with a certain amount of polish.
There is no doubting the quality of Glow Curve, the resident band at Raying Temple, but I’m not sure I’d ever want to be part of the audience when they play!
Bias is the keyword around here… getting over it is not the easiest thing in the world but hey, I’m sure i get an A for trying. That’s how I’d sum up my take on Glow Curve’s latest album after listening to it a few times. Some of the subtelties of the new styles of music are lost on this old Rock n Roll dog but I am always intrigued.
Still, while some might call this progressive, I’m more likely to label it at borderline pedantic
Catch Glow Curve at Mako Live house on October 22 and Yugong Yishan October 27