OUANEM by Glia

i’ve been dying to talk about the work and all that went into it’s creation (& stopped myself from making a “process” thread back in September because I didn’t want too much feedback to impact the last few recordings)

but it’s done
i’m extremely excited to hear what people think & what threads they connect between this new tape and other music i’ve released

ouanem is a sequel/prequel which sounds like a slight departure from the albums it is meant to follow (muqarnas + noemie)

i don’t think fans of either album will be disappointed with ouanem but it actually took me back to foundational methods used when i first started producing & recording music: a fusion of acoustic sound and looped/synthesized elements

not very groundbreaking for most people but it has been largely unexplored terrain for me while learning electronic production and pushing limits of computer music

if that preview excites you…please listen to a playlist prepared over the summer (made to guide collaborators) and intended to serve as context

hopefully it will generate some conversations about what i learned from each artist + song
or how they impacted choices during the creation of ouanem

67 Likes

This preview sounds like the breakbeat Eric Dolphy fusion I never knew I needed. Love it. Excited to hear the rest!

7 Likes

I dig it. The short gaps of silence as phrases come to rest are really cool… leading to a build up of a held phrase to a short fade. Is that an intentional byproduct of your process?

yes and no

this track was co-produced as a collab w/ another artist and the core is based on a loop they built up with samples

the gaps remind me of respiration
which is what attracted me to keep them and only make things seamless (the held phrase) for part of the song

i especially like the way the bass clarinet/bari sax sound pauses while the drums continue…but sometimes the cycles align and everything slows kinda like a stopped recording

the push-pull tension captured by using that technique is super enjoyable

3 Likes

cool. I’ve been trying to find ways of implementing macro-granularizing** strategies and respiration is a great one. thanks for posting this

3 Likes

i just want to alert folks that, after some delays…my new album is available for preordering!

please ask any questions you may have and let me know what yall think

14 Likes

congratulations, @glia! anxious to hear it. Can you please talk a little bit (in more detail) about the album creation process?

1 Like

THANK YOU

i’m more than happy to try sharing details about the process (please also add specific questions if i don’t explain something that interests you…)

I began working on this soon after my ep release for Minaret Records (“noemie” mentioned above). That ep was a bit of a challenge because I was taking baby steps toward more deliberate melodic development and improvisation on tunes. People loved the results and i enjoyed making it so pretty quickly shifted toward attempting to record a full-length album and my 1st physical release for the label.

For context, Minaret are a label run by & for jazz geeks…I really felt connected to their roster and goals even though i live on the opposite coast of the USA from most of their artists and am not as technically proficient musically. The connection made total sense until I tried piecing this album together.

I knew they would welcome the music (especially with my broad goal of blending Yesterdays New Quintet jazz/beat hybrids and african funk…continuing those traditions in my own “voice”). But, imposter syndrome caused doubts to creep into my mind on multiple occasions. I expected to record the whole album of improv sketches before my son was born (sept 2020) but things didn’t really work out that way :slight_smile:

This first preview track “God is not partial” resulted from some very trippy remote collaborations. I first found inspiration after hearing Chris Hill drumming the main pattern on instagram and asked him if I could sample the drums

I rarely leave samples untouched because i don’t want to worry about sample clearance or legal issues. But also i wanted his approval since we are social media friends and mutual admirer’s of each others music. Fortunately he agreed! I set about finding ways to restructure the sample (roughly 1min in duration) into what you hear for the 1st 1:38 of the track. I added my own percussion layers, and most of the low end melodies too.

The skeleton was complete enough that I shared it with a few folks in IG private messages. I don’t really know why actually…generally i don’t share unfinished music or wip songs with people. But this led to the most unexpected twist i encountered while making the album: almost everyone who heard the demo LOVED it and wanted to play new parts!

It was almost incomprehensible that Carlos Niño wanted to collaborate musically with a novice like me but i knew it would add something special to the song. We were in touch years ago when I sent in some older tracks for use on Spaceways Radio and reconnected after i sent promo copies of Noemie to all of the main influences (VHVL, Afrikan Sciences, and Carlos).

Carlos blew me away with his open spirit and generosity but also gave me some of the best feedback & critical advice. He felt the track needed to be longer to allow more room for improvisers…I kinda panicked because i didn’t know how to extend the track and make it make sense

So eventually after a few days I adopted Madlib’s method of cutting to a new beat or new rhythm to end a song (Muhsinah is also fond of this and i love it in their music). So what you hear from 1:38 onward was a new rhythm flipped from the original drum sample…then i continued my synth improv, let Carlos add his parts and later blended Takoda’s guitar organ/synth into it as well.

This was happening throughout July 2020 and was all completed by Aug 2020. We made another ep w/ @youngest_brother and @n_ev at the same time, remotely…they were all technically part of the same sessions and message exchanges.

As I grappled with how to proceed with the next recordings I was simultaneously trying to support my partner in the best possible way during the most critical part of our pregnancy…and figuring out how to match the energy/quality of that track while multitracking alone

In the end, I couldn’t seriously record any more toward Ouanem for months. Our kid came earlier than expected and, understandably, became the focal point of my life


What helped me regain some creative balance or feeling of control? Well first of all being embedded in this community and a few others. I think losing some control in life with the looming prospect of parenthood became a motivating factor for me to churn out as many independent releases as i did BEFORE finishing Ouanem (or Nimi)

I had developed a rhythm of creating music to maintain my sanity, linking up with friends & artists to make visuals, and crafting something new for my bandcamp supporters or for the monthly friday free for all. In this case…I’d already started planning the ep’s that became “Toil” “Concentrics 7” and “Gliamd” so i just continued prepping them and recording to stay productive and learned to make music while our baby slept.

That music needed to be made but did not fit what i wanted to do for Minaret.

One major shift was the creation of this unique ongoing partnership w/ @GrantB + @dan_derks…the first evidence of the collaboration was making my sample pack “Yelidek” but the bells were the catalyst to return to Ouanem sessions and have been used repeatedly on the album in various ways

16 Likes

the next shift was selecting Sam Klickner to create the cover design

back in Nov 2020 we exchanged initial ideas via DM and i confirmed rates and availability to work on something for me

i also sent an email with tentative tracklist and themes

Visually I’ve been inspired by kinds of things but the vfx in pop sci-fi stuff like Star Trek Discovery, the Expanse or Debris…

Some themes woven into the tracks:

  • empathy / community / repairing friendships
  • authenticity + agency in art
  • range of the father - child bond

Tentative tracklist

  1. god is not partial
  2. muqarnas progression
  3. akpaifiok
  4. 100% teff
  5. out of one
  6. all of us
  7. the one who sees me

but i didn’t want to constrain his creativity and made clear that i didn’t want em to “feel locked into pulling anything specific from those…I really love your choices of color and palette in other designs and trust you fully to prepare something sweet for the project”

8 Likes

The artwork is lovely. Fits the mood of the opening track really well, can’t wait to hear the whole album! Plus it’s always enjoyable to hear extensive background notes on releases.

2 Likes

i love love love the album art, reminds me a lot of the visual identity of Orange Milk Records as well as some of Ed Sunspot / Robert Beatty’s artwork.

Excited to dig into the sonics tomorrow :)))

3 Likes

Oh my goodness 🫢

That opener made my morning. The percussion that starts around 1:30 had me making all kinds of stank face - something special but subtle is happening there. Taking the rest in now, but when I saw you had a vinyl release i had to nab it. Its been a while since Ive gotten any new vinyl, but that opener alone has my turntable shouting “why isn’t this spinning on my face?!”

Edit: just came back to geek out some more. This is soooo gooood :ok_hand:

1 Like

Been a Spools member for quite a while… this is definitely my favorite release of yours. I’d love to hear the four of y’all on the opening track make a full EP or album as a band!

1 Like

The early responses have been amazing…thank you all :slight_smile:

ouanem is out now on major streaming sites too!

‎Ouanem by .glia on Apple Music
Spotify

yeah actually had not made that connection before but you’re right
i so glad it’s distinct even among Klickner’s other recent designs

thanks for the support…high praise because this is exactly the kind of subtle shift i wanted to capture with that song

i love it when artists twist things ever so slightly

I’m so glad you are enjoying this and have gotten to see the full spectrum of what i do over the past few years, i couldn’t have made the album without your backing!

And regarding the band…they probably wouldn’t be opposed to arranging something but it’s def more likely that you’ll hear some more songs with us broken into pairs and trios first

Takoda and I are already planning something and Carlos is so prolific I feel like there’d always be an open door to work together if the timing and vibe are right. I’m just grateful this tune exists and represents an important part of my spirituality

6 Likes

got around to giving this a few rotations yesterday, albeit while working so the deeper listening session is still forthcoming.

that said, wow. it’s definitely a glia release as the dna and fingerprints of your prior body of work are sonically all over it, but it feels like an evolution of the form (not necessarily in the linear or “better” sense, maybe a parallel?). You wear the semi-ensemble approach very well :slight_smile:

I feel like there’s a trope of predominantly electronic composers going on to work with other players and live/acoustic instrumentation that doesn’t always sit well with me. While I’m sure it’s not the intent, it can feel like a grab for legitimization/validation amongst the “institution”/old guard (“see, i’m a real musician too!”), and this release to me completely avoids feeling that way. Kudos.

I really love this, thanks for continuing to share your work with us :black_heart:

3 Likes

Thank you so much for sharing this tremendous work with us. It’s so darn good.

2 Likes

there are many reasons why this makes me happy so thank you sharing the thought

art can become almost a branding exercise where you know an audience expects one thing from you and you tick off boxes to ensure they know it’s “you”…also even when the intent is to reveal different facets of your artistry it can be difficult to follow-through and maintain authenticity and sincerity while displaying those facets

the more i’ve thought of this, showing different sides of myself has become a key artistic motivator and a core part of my spirituality…it was very important for me to try to let people see this part of me, which really has always been there :wink:

Again
I’m quite touched by this comment and understand exactly what you mean

I’m in the somewhat awkward position: i consider myself a drummer 1st but shifted almost all my creativity toward electronic music over time. So my yearning to include acoustic drums and other stuff is natural (since i played those first) but terrifying (since i know i’m not very skilled as a drummer).

I don’t know if my initial desire to play all the drums on Ouanem live in a single take was a misguided attempt to gain validation or a legitimate let’s-see-what-i’m-really-capable-of kind of leap. The reality is I simply couldn’t do it with my current skills and abandoned the goal to go ahead with what you hear now.

There are still many parts played by hand on bells and my small kit but i did not pressure myself to play the rhythms as one drummer would, leaving the beat intact.


Also, I wanna use this as a springboard to continue answering @aeoner about how Ouanem was made…

I’m very keen to blend contemporary tech, new synthesis techniques, and freeform experimentation within the context of jazz and hip hop. As genres they are both built on an exploratory/experimental spirit but practitioners often stagnate in order to honor past traditions

I knew i couldn’t outplay some of my peers in the jazz world but took opportunities to imagine how modern sampling and non-standard synthesis (not simply a keyboard) could be used to create new textures and rhythms.

i encourage everyone to compare these two versions of the same composition:


it’s my favorite song from ouanem and the one which, for me, has no flaws…by blending a complex modern sampler (nisp for norns) with acoustic drums, flute, and feedback mixing, i really felt like i pushed myself forward in a new direction

8 Likes

hey everyone

i’m still open to chat more if you have questions about this collection!
since last weeks release we got featured in a few places


most recently today on dublab’s weekly SOUND OF NOW playlist

on dntel’s dying songs radio show AND bandcamp’s new/notable stack yesterday :slight_smile:

8 Likes

DUDE, WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!? This first track is immense

The minute the drums dropped I lost my mind

this causes consciousness to fracture

I mean I gotta listen to the whole thing (immediately) but it’s already shining so so bright

4 Likes

Wonderful release. Absolutely love it.

1 Like