Reviews

Tuesday
Mar202012

Elevators Video

Elevators by Summer of Glaciers (Official Music Video) from Christopher Bryan on Vimeo.

Small Spaces, the new EP from Ryan Wasterlain's solo project, Summer of Glaciers, is mood music of the dreamy variety, but the video for "Elevators" gets downright nightmarish. Shot as one continuous take by Christopher Bryan, and featuring extras from Denton bands, "Elevators" unsettles with just some paint and some fire.

"Overall, the video is meant to be more of an abstract visual experience," Wasterlain says. "Christopher Bryan came to [Gutterth and myself] with the idea for this continuous take video. I really loved the idea because it was extremely surreal but not in the sense that we just threw a bunch of psychedelic effects at it... it takes the unsettling mood of the song and translates into a strange and dark narrative that can really be read any way you want. I'm a fan of keeping a certain amount of mystery around what song meanings are.

"I also was really happy to get a chance to have members of Denton-based bands Bad Design, Spooky Folk, New Science Projects, Babar and The Angelus along for the ride. I have to thank them all so much for saying yes to the question: "Do you want to come stand in a cold, wooded area painted white and light something on fire?"

"This video was especially challenging because of the use of fire," adds Bryan. "Really anything could go wrong and then the video is ruined. I can rehearse all the moves and everyone can be absolutely ready, but if the fire does something weird or the screen doesn't burn the way we want it to, the video is ruined and we didn't have the time or money to reset it. But it's that sort of thing that really interests me."

March 2012 - DC9 (Dallas Observer) - Audra Schroeder

Tuesday
Mar132012

35 Denton Show Review

— While we spent much of 35 Denton watching well-known local and national acts, we saved some extra time to watch new or altered local bands that we hadn't seen before. We scaled the schedule to find bands we'd heard of -- even regularly talked about -- that needed more of our full attention.

Read concert reviews from 35 Denton on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Upon reviewing four local bands at 35 Denton, some were spot on while others missed the mark. Here are the bands we hadn't said much about that you should know:

J&J’s Pizza, located on the Denton Square, filled to capacity for Ryan Wasterlain, aka Summer of Glaciers, on Saturday. The former one-man band moved from San Francisco to Dallas last year to further his electronic musings, which encouraged the material on his newest EP, Small Spaces. Wasterlain combined stark guitar work driven by various pedals with heavy beats to make a stellar, brooding sound that’s rare in Dallas-Fort Worth music. His choice of pedals and chords often resembled the mood and pitch of Marilyn Manson’s guitar work in his cover of “Sweet Dreams.”

Electric blue light bulbs dangled from the low ceiling of the pizza restaurant’s basement, fizzling bright to dark in response to the electricity of Wasterlain's music. After celebrating his first “sold out” show, Wasterlain introduced Miranda Alvarado, the newest addition to Summer of Glaciers. She sang on a few tracks, adding recognizable emotion to the music. Small Spaces is the first EP with vocals, which should give fans something new to look forward to. The additional vocals aren’t that of Alvarado; her contribution may be on the next record.

March 2012 - Pegasus News - Brenna Rushing

Thursday
Mar082012

Show Preview by Dallas Observer

Gutterth Records just keeps turning out the jams. Six-song EP Small Spaces from Summer of Glaciers, the project of Angelus bassist Ryan Wasterlain, is the Denton label's latest genre-bender. Living in San Francisco no doubt influenced Wasterlain's softly pulsating electronic and psych tones, created via guitar, drum machine and computer manipulation, but Small Spaces translates perfectly to North Texas, where solo aural experiments are in full swing.

March 2012 - Dallas Observer - Audra Schroeder

Thursday
Mar082012

Small Spaces Review by Indie Middle of Nowhere

Summer Of Glaciers released a new album this weekend on Gutterth titled Small Spaces. The album is an amazing journey. It starts off with the deep ambient inspired track Inches Mean Miles. From there it falls into a bleak almost hopeless depression state. Over the next few songs that seem to blend together the state morphs turning from a sad state to a hopeful one. The hopeful sound really kicks off on the fifth track, Removal. From there the emotions build and climax in the final track When We Part. This album will leave you speechless. The genre cannot be defined, this album is its own. It draws elements from Post-Rock, Ambient, Chillwave, and Trance. Really though it isn't one in its own. The band is playing a show Thursday and also playing at the Gutterth Showcase Saturday during 35 Denton. You should for sure check them out.

March 2012 - Indie Middle of Nowhere - Chandler

Thursday
Mar082012

Small Spaces Review by Denton Record Chronicle

If it weren’t for a fossil called Myspace.com, Summer of Glaciers might have never landed in North Texas.

Former San Francisco musician and mad scientist behind the electronic-rock project Summer of Glaciers, Ryan Wasterlain, recalls surfing the social networking site when he happened upon a Denton band called the Angelus.

“They covered this DJ Shadow song that I really loved — I’m a huge DJ Shadow fan — and I loved the cover,” Wasterlain said. “I was in San Francisco, and I just wrote to them telling them how much I liked their stuff. That was pretty much it.”

The Denton band met with Wasterlain, enjoyed his music and even booked Summer of Glaciers into some daytime shows.

Wasterlain is releasing his latest EP, Small Spaces, through Denton label Gutterth Records on Saturday night at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.

“Musically, it was kind of a transition period for me,” Wasterlain said of the EP. “I had lived in San Fran for three or four years, and I’d come to Texas a few times and had a really good time and made some really good friends. So the album had to do with the transition you go through, mentally, when you sort of leave everything behind.”

A fresh start means opportunities, but it also means letting go of the life you’ve come to know.

“I grew up on the West Coast, and this is the first time I’ve lived in Texas. It’s the first time I’ve lived without roommates. The record is kind of about loss and longing, and just coming to terms with it, too,” Wasterlain said. “It’s kind of a sad album.”

Wasterlain said living and working in Dallas means affordable rent and more money to make music. It’s also close to Denton, which Wasterlain said is more supportive of music than any place he’s been.

“I know when I play a show in Denton that I might be playing a bill that’s sort of weird, you know?” he said. “I’ll be playing a show that has all these unlikely bands playing. And I know that when I go to the show, I know there will be a lot of people out and they’ll be watching every minute. They might be a metal head, but they’ll watch an electronic act.”

Small Spaces follows Summer of Glaciers’ 2010 full-length album, Concentric. Apart from the cross-country move, Small Spaces marks an artistic departure for the artist.

“In my head, it’s very different from what I’ve done in the past,” Wasterlain said. “In the past, my music has been densely layered with lots of reverb. And then it came around to doing this record, I really wanted to strip away a lot of the layers I’d gotten accustomed to. I tried to scale back to a more songwriting style. So there’s one guitar, and then some vocals,which is something that I haven’t done before and I was really skeptical about because I generally do instrumental stuff. But I felt it needed it for me to be able to do the kind of storytelling I wanted to do.”

Summer of Glaciers is primarily Wasterlain’s solo project, and he recorded Small Spaces at home.

In six tracks, Wasterlain builds a lonely suspense. A timid guitar plods and skips while chilly drum loops drape and repeat. Wasterlain’s voice is a contemplative thing when rendered through an electronic haze. From start to finish, Summer of Glaciers relives a past for a bit, then lets it slip through its fingers.

In spite of Small Spaces’ landscape being brushed with breezy electronic touches and glassy chime effects, Wasterlain isn’t frozen solid.

“I start with the guitar line. I’ve always done a lot of processing on my guitar, but I’m a guitarist first and I feel most comfortable with guitar — moreso than keyboard,” Wasterlain said. “Of course, you can do just about anything electronically. I feel like there is a sound, like it’s icy, but it’s human.”

That human sound comes from the vocals, the guitar and the throbbing drum hits Wasterlain samples to create percussion.

The CD release show on Saturday will be the first time he’ll perform with a drummer on stage. He had the Angelus’ Emil Rapstine sing vocals during a recent taping on the locally produced Violitionist Session, another first.

Small Spaces will be available on Saturday at the show, and at http://soglaciers.bandcamp.com/releases .

Sounds like: The passenger seat in Mikael Blomkvist’s car as he speeds from Stockholm to the frozen private island owned by the troubled Vanger clan.

Published: 01 March 2012 - Denton Record Chronicle - Lucinda Breeding