Charlatan: The Glass Borders (Moon Glyph, 2021)

May 27, 2021 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Foxy Digitalis, Reviews | Leave a comment

Charlatan: The Glass Borders

I’ll be surprised if anyone reading these words remembers this, but I wrote for Foxy Digitalis from 2008 until the site shut down in 2013, at which point I started posting reviews on this site. That 5-year period was an immense time of growth and education for me, it taught me so much about underground music and expressing myself through writing about it. I will always be thankful to Brad Rose and Eden Hemming for letting me write for their site for so long. I’d written for websites before (all of which are long since deleted), but if it wasn’t for my tenure at FD, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start doing this for a living at AllMusic. Anyway, Brad shut the site down in 2013, and then the Digitalis label disappeared without warning a year or two later, and for a long time there just wasn’t any word from Brad at all. But now Foxy Digitalis is back, with Brad regularly posting reviews and interviews almost every day, and they’ve been releasing a ton of new albums through a new label called The Jewel Garden (and also making a lot of older releases available on Bandcamp again here). The Glass Borders is their first release on an outside label since coming back from hiatus, and even though there’s been a bunch of recent releases by Charlatan and many other aliases, this still feels a return to an area that’s been closed off for a while. The first side of the tape is taken up by the 25-minute “All Your Gifts Are Weightless”, a dazzling synthscape which cycles and swerves through various shimmering patterns and bell-ringing tones, calms down and switches gears, then goes into rhythmic cruise mode while a slightly detached, cloudy pattern floats overhead. Truly sublime. The shorter pieces on the other side each seem to concentrate on a singular mood. “Living Structures” is a bit muted and dungeonesque, then “Saturnine” opens up a bit, gradually letting more feelings and light rays trickle in. “On the Cheek” could also have been titled “On the Creek” due to the rushing water sounds, and the synth notes feel submerged, but glowing.

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