When people ask me what I think of Philip Glass, I tend to respond “Philip Glass likes triplets”. Philip Glass really has so much I should like, but I feel like he’s fallen into one style and hasn’t left it. Yes, it is incredibly impressive that he ensemble can play the blazing repetitive triplet figures in Koyaanisqatsi (which is a pretty fantastic score by the way), but has he really done anything that diverts from that style? (Drumroll please)
Analog seems like a transition work for Glass. The first movement of Etoile Polaire is like a breath of fresh air to me – it is simply the best moments of Philip Glass condensed. That statement works for most of the album. Victor’s Lament has the typical Glass arpeggio style returning, but it is more restrained than the work that follows this collection. Again, condensed. River Run and Mon Pere, Mon Pere have interesting rhythmic vocal phrasing, with harmonies in the latter that (for some reason) remind me of The Beach Boys. Mad Rush For Organ, the big boy on campus, is indeed mad. It’s a shear blitz of notes, almost distorted from the density. Yet somehow it manages to stay pretty. The slower passages are a nice break that let you digest insanity. With this behind me, I’ll need to revisit some of his later work to see if I can make more sense of it. Regardless, if you are a casual Glass fan, this is worth checking out to better understand the artist.