Asian Glow
Stalled Flutes, means


4.1
excellent

Review

by don't ask me, I don't know any hallways STAFF
June 24th, 2022 | 52 replies


Release Date: 06/13/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Asian glow up

Say what you will about this fresh crop of emo bedroom artists, they don’t slack off one bit - least of all Asian Glow. For my money, he’s the most exciting of the Downfall of the Neon Youth & co. e-scene, and this isn’t just code for ‘best’: the rapid development of his sound over the past 15 months has been a wonder to follow. His breakout record Cull Ficle was essentially an hour’s worth of Midwest-inflected The Glow Pt. 2 worship; his contributions to the landmark Downfall of the Neon Youth split with Parannoul and Sonhos Tomam Conta beefed this up with a post-hardcore bent; and now, the noise pop shrapnel from his exploding seedpod of a collaboration with Weatherday has apparently found fertile soil and burgeoned into a bloody forest in the three months since that release. What a time to be alive; what a lot to keep up with.

The new new Asian Glow Stalled Flutes, means is at once a consolidation of every palette he’s worked in so far and yet another bold step forward. It’s at once the most focused, most demanding and most satisfying thing he (or any of his echelon) has produced thus far, and I have found myself tantalised, drained, overwhelmed and eventually delighted by it in turn, over as many listens as I’ve thrown at any 2022 album within a single week of discovery. There is, uh, a lot to pick apart here and it takes an unusual amount of patience for a record geared towards sensory overload, but the stakes are very much there. Let’s get you started - please approach this album with expectations of:

1) deeply slurred English over the buzz of lo-fi acoustic guitars
2) the kind of string sections that should come with a horsepower advisory, and
3) some of the most delicious folktronica stylings I have ever heard on a rock album, period (a big step forward from the experimentation on his pt.2345678andstill EP).

All of these happen at once, every song, most of the time, and with bedroom production and a whole lotta residual lo-fi, it comes off like a bloody maze at first. On first listen, I found it a struggle to latch onto anything at all beyond the general aesthetic and an intuitive feeling that there was something special lurking under that tangle. Hours later, this turned out to be the case: the sprawl of those arrangements camouflages songwriting far more streamlined than Weatherglow’s and more dynamic than most of Cull Ficle. Most of these tracks are actually grounded in robust structures, but have a habit of laying on so many tones so thick that their repetitious qualities get lost in the blur. Take the stellar third song, “Faltering Waver” (the emo condition in two words if ever I saw it): this track initially caught my ear with an electronic loop that takes centre stage at around the 2:40 mark, yet I had something approaching a gripe with the way Asian Glow quickly jettisons it for an ensuing string climax rather than building on it any further. However, I later clocked that the loop in question is unobtrusively layered from the start of the song and that its ‘entrance’ at 2:40 is simply a cutaway. Something about the track has clicked since then; it’s twice as infectious being able to follow the carefully presented ambitions behind ideas I first saw as throwaway.

This kind of familiarisation is key to the album, but internalising the innermost workings of an entire hour of emo ramble is a practically uncivilised level of dedication. To this end, “Look Close, Nose the Reflection” is absolutely indispensable, practically a guide rail for the rest of the tracklist. Its protracted pacing is a gift: as Asian Glow reaches for something a little more lofty with a little more patience, he lays down at once the longest and most accessible track of the lot and backs it with the album’s strongest melodies and most breathtaking buildups. Its digestible breakdown of the matrix at work on every other song is equal parts a Rosetta stone moment for the album and a defining snapshot of the painfully ephemeral wonder that flows through the whole thing like quicksilver. Asian Glow’s lyrics are a hive of anxiety and his delivery as laden with passionate semblances of jadedness as any emo vocalist, but there’s something almost childlike about the way the album’s wide-eyed strivings for the unattainable. You can hear the force of the moment Asian Glow captures for a moment precisely in his desperate final note on “Look Close…”; you can sense the grandeur as the song finally prepares to settle into the peak it’s spent the best part of nine minutes towards; you can feel the grace and harmony of all things coming together, and you can feel the immediate resignation in his voice as he lets go of the track the instant it peaks, as though no corny crescendo could ever package the yearning that threatens to tear his voice apart entirely. The track ends without further ado, its statement made. Though tallest and most majestic, it’s just one moment on an album teeming with moments building and moments escaping: grasp one, however fleetingly and you can grasp them all. There is magic to be found here; it is, as they say, a real one.




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user ratings (47)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


49220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

I am tired and this is more of a listener's testimonial than a proper review, but the load of new releases tomorrow are gonna swamp me, so it's now or never

Album is both a mouthful and a grower, but it's sitting somewhere between Mondo Grosso and Rolo Tomassi in my top 5 for the year so far. Bloody great stuff end to end, fantastic range of sounds, amazingly consistent

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


2122 Comments


Testemonialise this: 8====D

I listened to this and was overwhelmed and stopped paying attention, so at least one of your takes is accurate. I shall revisit with an open heart and report back and you'll probably be right as always

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


4057 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Beautiful review, gonna check this one

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


49220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Gang gang < 3 Yeah get onto this/get more onto this - and if in doubt, just spin Look Close on repeat until it clicks, what a feckin TRACK

I had to undertake unusually extreme measures to click with this (ie spinning it literally 4-5 times in a row in one sitting) but hnnng was it worth it

Slex
June 24th 2022


14508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good stuff, what should i r8 this

Digging: At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


49220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

4.5 duh/!!

Slex
June 24th 2022


14508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Word

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


49220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

*cocks 0.5 trigger at music:Slex*

Cormano
June 24th 2022


3598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you pretty much nailed it

all his music is incredibly rewarding

Digging: Jawbreaker - Dear You

Cormano
June 24th 2022


3598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I also just discovered this week he covered my favorite Weatherday song (Cut Lips) and he fucking kills it

Slex
June 24th 2022


14508 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Okay dont worry raised to a 3.8 now

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


4585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

woah 4.1 nice still need to check oops glow on

parksungjoon
June 24th 2022


45122 Comments


don't ask me, I don't know any hallways

Digging: Photek - Natural Born Killa

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


49220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

"Okay dont worry raised to a 3.8 now"

OKAY but i am still pulling funding on your redemption arc, BUDDY

"check oops glow on"

no smelly fauxhxc will be tolerated here!!

Pikazilla
June 24th 2022


23460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice

LightAndGlass
June 24th 2022


611 Comments


I've never heard of these guys but I really fuck with the first 3 songs on here. I'll have to give it a full listen in the coming days.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


4585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

might be my state of mind or mind of state but i'm not rly feeling this so far :[

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


49220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

where is ur mind

Cormano
June 24th 2022


3598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Johnny have you heard the colab ep with Weatherday I don't think I've read your thoughts on that one

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


49220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

I have! was gonna write about it, but then it turned into dumb flash fiction so i didn't and, hmmm - i LOVE the collabness of it and the palette and the sound and the chaos, but imo the songs themselves don't have that much to them (2nd and 3rd are solid, but otherwise hmm). kinda thing i'd happily throw any time on for a rush and probably get about 2/3rds of the way through, but i dunno if either of them were necessarily at their best on it? hope they collab again though



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