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Glideascope - Audio Cinematography
By Ben Ohmart
(more articles from this author)
2004-12-09
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When trance meets soundtrack, a Glideascope occurs, that child of a happy home which has the unique ability to run and play in the street while at the same time sitting comfortably and listening to Handel without the aid of a record player.

Glideascope calls itself "the soundtrack to a movie never made," with a nickname of "audio cinematography." Yes, it dances while it underscores the movement. An Oscar-winning soundtrack will not only underline the action, it has that singular rarity of being tuneful, remaining invisible enough to not disrupt the flow of story and character. This is what Glideascope achieves with its With Strings Attached EP.

To the tuning strains of an orchestra your "Devushka" (meaning beautiful in Russian) begins, plugged with a female vocal sometimes singing "you're shining down on me" and other sound bytes, as a saxophone steams among the dominant personality of the album: the strings.

Perhaps the most rhythmic track follows it, in the aptly titled "What Kinda Madness." Hip hop fans will keep coming back to this one, scored like a delicate remix involving violins and the ghost of violence.

Then there's "Alone" which struts like an updated David Bowie conception (think "Looking for Lester" or the whole of Buddha of Suburbia), only reinforcing the very visual nature of its music, presenting us with the best, most pressing compliment tunes should engender: that it is truly interactive, not reactive.

More on Glideascope
* Genre: Trip-Hop
* Hometown: London
* Website
* Order With Strings Attached EP
* Label: Glidescope
*Contact Glidescope

Take a Listen to Tracks from With Strings Atached
(streaming mp3)
Devushka(Beautiful)
What Kinda Madness
A Moment's Peace
Alone

Glideascope's name itself explains the collaboration of creator to listener. The one-man band explains: "Glideascope is a combination of the word Glide - which has been my artist name since my teens and the word Kaleidoscope - which is a visual instrument used to display a variety of colours and symmetrical forms. I wish to demonstrate this in audio form, using many sources of inspiration from my childhood to present day."

Cinematically speaking, movie soundtracks - as you can tell - were a significant influence on Glideascope. But the band offers more than this - "think minimalist, think rich and soothing, think organic and textured, think melancholic and emotive." He is breaking down the fourth wall and the movie screen itself: "to construct and evolve rather than deconstruct, to promote inclusion rather than exclusion. Of course creation sometimes requires breaking items down. In this respect I want to break down the barriers between the listener and the recording to stimulate an emotional response."

And so, to construct a song. "I begin with an idea based on a key concept, for example a multi-cultural theme or a moment of emotional significance. I will either commence by composing the string arrangement or lead line and building other instruments around this. At other times I will work on a vocal phrase and create sounds inspired by this voice. In this way the voice becomes a musical instrument in its own right. "I aim for a rich organic sound and select the ingredients necessary to achieve this sound. The first version of a track takes a relatively short time, but evolves (on average about 20 stages) before the final mix. One track from the forthcoming album has taken almost a year to complete, featuring the most complex arrangement I have worked on to date. It is not all about the time taken, when I feel I can't add or remove anything from the composition, then it is ready."

The inspiration comes from various sources relating to his personal experience, plus influences from Sly and Robbie, James Brown, Bach, Vangelis, Bob Marley, Public Enemy, Pachebel, Curtis Mayfield, Herbie Hancock and Hashim. Plus, "Craig Armstrong writes contemporary classical movie scores and has enough of an audience and album sales for me to recognize that music can be listened and appreciated without requiring a lead vocalist.

"A vocalist tends to actively involve the listener, I wish to passively evoke emotion. Massive Attack are always a source of inspiration - especially the classic 'Unfinished Sympathy.' Lamb have a great stage presence when appearing live, as well as excellent studio material. Whether judging a classically trained musician such as Craig Armstrong or the excellent production skills in the studio such as Massive Attack, in my mind it is the creativity and end result that counts."

For non-musical influences he credits his "travel experiences across the globe, cultural significance, a need for inner peace and calm, fighting all forms of prejudice and those who are nearest and dearest to me."

As for film music, if he could find the director and cash to score one, Glideascope" would have Luc Besson or David Lynch directing with screenplay by David Mamet. There would be a sense of familiarity from the first scene with enough tension to keep you hooked until the credits. There should be many layers to the development of the story to encourage a yearning to watch repeatedly. I would feature unknown actors to portray realism on screen. Of course I would be the first choice to write the soundtrack..."

True, it's difficult to compete a soundtrack against all the pop/rock pulsating out there, but the other side of the coin states that that's what gives it its edge after all. "If an artist wishes to stay true to a particular art form, then it is all about one's definition of success. Success to me is not only about the number of CDs sold, but also about creating music which will be appreciated in years to come."

If you didn't get enough, go for some free downloads at www.glideascope.com. The debut album, which will feature all new material, will be released in the first half of 2005.


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