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Philip Glass
Glassworks


3.5
great

Review

by Electric City USER (135 Reviews)
May 17th, 2008 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist


If you've been to the movies in the past decade or so, chances are you've heard Philip Glass' music. Nominated for Golden Globe and Academy Award scores to films such as The Truman Show, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal, and more, Glass' work pops up everywhere, and when familiar with his stylings, it's immediately recognizable. Pioneering the genre of "minimalism" (or as Glass calls it, "music with repetitive structures"), Glass has been composing for decades, building up quite the body of work, from his world reknowned opera Einstein At the Beach to the score of the immeasurably influential Japanese film "Koyaanisqatsi." He's also collaborated with the likes of David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Aphex Twin, highlighting his influence in pop culture as well as his impressive report with the big guns in music. Glass' works, at least for the early portion of his career, were notoriously lengthy, at times playing one musical phrase for almost half an hour with nary a variation. With Glassworks, Philip attempts to reach a broader spectrum of the population, Glass saying himself, "Glassworks was intended to introduce my music to a more general audience than had been familiar with it up to then." For the most part he succeeds, restraining his pieces to never go past ten minutes, and trades epic repetition for glorious crescendos and climaxes to create emotion and beauty. While not without it's weaker movements, Glassworks proves a worthy introduction to one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.

For all intents and purposes, Glassworks is a 5 movement suite of music that reflects Glass' stab at "pop". "Opening" and "Closing" provide ethereal bookends to Glassworks, the latter being an electronic reprise of the gorgeous acoustic-piano former, with sleek hemiola work, triplets over duplets, immediately inviting the listener into the complexity of Glass' compositional stylings. Both pieces remain stubbornly repetitive, staying at one volume with nary a change in phrasing or voicing, yet there's something so hypnotizing in both of them, they serve as the hypnotizer that lulls one into the record and the cool breeze that provides the awakening at the end, somnolent imagery intended. The repetitious nature of Glass' music mesmerizes to the point of trance, with each movement providing a different feel that provides emotion rather than specific events. For example, the strings of "Island" set up an apprehensive feel that builds with each layer Glass adds on to the original theme. The similar "Facades" is able to produce the opposite feel without much change in format or instrumentation, yet contrary to "Island", "Facades" is as easy-going as it is a release from the tension built up by the pieces preceding movements.

The quiet nature of four-sixths of the movements is certainly Glass' forte, as most of his future work would be as hushed and hypnotizing as "Island" or "Opening", but Glass' more intense works show his compositional range, with the album's best movement being "Floe". "Floe" is one of two chaotic movements in Glassworks, with the other, "Rubric", being the one minor stumble in an otherwise smooth record. "Floe" transitions out of "Opening" with horns before exploding into arpeggiated synth lines and later throwing all the themes he builds in the piece together in a bombastic apex. Overall, "Floe"'s indicative of the greatest aspects of Glassworks: with naught but strings, horns and lots of synths, Glass creates quite the track, which translates into a nearly equally sextet of music. Though repetitive, Glassworks is as emotional as it is gorgeous, providing the world with a great introduction to one of the modern era's most celebrated composers.



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user ratings (235)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
kitsch
April 8th 2009


5117 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good place to start with glass?

fireaboveicebelow
April 8th 2009


6835 Comments


Einstein at the Beach is cool, but that's all I've heard

charlesfishtitz
April 8th 2009


784 Comments


"good place to start with glass?"


thisun

kitsch
April 8th 2009


5117 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ill get this and einstein, ive heard its name tossed around quite a bit

thebhoy
April 8th 2009


4460 Comments


Philip Glass bores me.

charlesfishtitz
April 8th 2009


784 Comments


cool awesome sweet

Electric City
April 8th 2009


15756 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

whoa this review has comments

charlesfishowitz
September 3rd 2009


1793 Comments


rulz

taylormemer
September 3rd 2009


4964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, 'Opening' is really awesome.

charlesfishowitz
September 3rd 2009


1793 Comments


4sure

Tomahawkz
October 25th 2011


34 Comments


he is awesome undeniably and track 3 has a very batman feel

Electric City
December 23rd 2011


15756 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yea

taylormemer
December 24th 2011


4964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Reminds me that I should probably get out that Einstein on the Beach review that I never submitted.

TRMshadow
October 20th 2012


5119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

More people need to listen to this..

Yuli
Emeritus
January 14th 2013


10767 Comments


This album's amazing.

YankeeDudel
March 3rd 2013


9342 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool name cool tunes

Havey
October 21st 2013


12056 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

glass sucks for the most part but this brings the nostalgia hard

Insurrection
October 9th 2014


24844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

opening is absolutely perfect

gosk8n
December 23rd 2014


1093 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heard the track "Closing" in a dj mix this album is a nice piece of work

Onirium
December 23rd 2014


3113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, this is brilliant, and sadly, too often forgotten



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