This week: Age of Experience, Glassio (Glassio, 2019)
Why we’re into it: With Glassio’s super-synth sound and lyrics full of languish, Age of Experience is a master class in how to use melancholy without becoming melodramatic.
I’m not even sure where to begin on this one. From the opening track all the way through the closing tune, Glassio (Brooklyn-based Sam R.) weaves into each beat, lyric, and melody deep feelings that defy easy expression—which is exactly what makes this such an intriguing work of art.
While all the best tracks were released before the EP, the timing doesn’t stop them from feeling contemporary and worth listening to again. The opening track, “New York, New York II” is especially weird, with a title that’s an ironic homage to the old, boring standard. While indulging in some clichéd lyrics—”Living in the heart of a broken city/I could be anything I wanted to be”—it doesn’t take long for the song to take a delightful turn. There are millions of songs about longing, whether that’s longing for someone to love or to right past wrongs. “New York, New York II” begs a different question: I got what I wanted, but what if it turns out that what I got wasn’t actually what I wanted at all? It’s an intensely moving prompt, one that’s further driven by a complex production that culminates in an incredibly fun bridge. The next track, “Back for More,” is a natural progression in the narrative. “And I don’t know where to go/It’s over now/You keep me running back for more.”
With its minimal lyrics juxtaposed with crisp, clean, string-like synthesizers, the title track, “Age of Experience,” is phenomenal. This story of recollection is a reflective look at the past: how experience shapes identity and how identity shapes experience. While reminiscing can sometimes be dangerous—a slippery slope into nostalgia and wishing for something other than the present—the duo dips into their history and uses it to celebrate the present.
The star of the collection is “Young & Departed,” a totally danceable and jig-worthy track. The production is upbeat and high-energy, and the guys have crafted something that demands to be played on the dance floor. “Maybe I was living with a memory/It’s somethin’ that could never stand the test of time/If only I could feel it like it used to be.” A story familiar to many, it is, at its essence, an exploration of mortality: Can my memories stand the test of the time or will they be lost with age?
Age of Experience invites us to wander through our own past to understand the present. Glassio harmonizes production techniques overdone by others into something fresh and revitalizing. Leaning into their sound when necessary, but always with restraint, there’s still time for you to digest it all. It’s a no-skip EP, a collection of singular works of storytelling that combined prove that electronic music is alive and well as a conduit for great art.