Glasser is the stage name of Cameron Mesirow, an experimental ethereal-electro-indie singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She uses a mixture of electronic and live instruments to create unique but familiar soundscapes. Because of her singing style, she is sometimes compared to Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins. She’s also sometimes compared to Bat For Lashes. I think it’s fair to say that she’s doing something musically reminiscent of some mixture of Post-era Björk and Stereolab. More on this in a bit.
Glasser released one EP in 2009, and her debut long player —Ring— in 2010. One of my Music Geeks buddies (Viva La Geek!) clued me in to the brilliance of this album in the autumn of 2010, and even as a late entry, that album ended up #14 on my list of my favorite 15 non-Canadian albums of the year.
Because of the diversity of influence, one could just as easily classify this as “world music”, “electronica”, or any mashup of the words “dream”, “synth”, “goth”, “pop” and “weird”. This woman does some seriously amazing things with her voice, and that’s what makes me like this more than I probably should.
I’ll admit that since the fall of 2010, this record fell out of heavy A rotation and into pretty infrequent play. I recently dusted it off, and I was reminded of how brilliant it is. I think back then I had a different favorite song on the record, but today, I’m really digging on “Treasury of We”. This is that song.
“Treasury of We” by Glasser
Everybody knows that I’m a sucker for the vibraphone, and this song sucks me in right from the drop, at 0:04. It’s not even a real vibraphone, or a fake vibraphone for that matter. It’s a fake marimba (more on that in a bit), but it doesn’t matter. I lurve it.
The way I hear her voice, it doesn’t matter whether she’s singing in English or Russian or Tagalog. I’m not really paying attention to the lyrics. Her voice, however, is a fantastic instrument that she plays very well. That said, I looked up the lyrics, and the chorus is some strange stuff that sounds like something out of some really heavy, bizarro, existential/science fiction novel:
Wrapped in a box with liquid keys
Is a treasury of we
Connecting us entirely
Feel the harmony
But the same
We’re all the same
Set apart by different names
But underneath, we’ve got the code
All of that stuff that I’ve mentioned reminds me of Stereolab, even if the song doesn’t particularly sound like Stereolab. Apart from the tuned percussion, of course. And I’m talking Cobra and Phases…-era Stereolab, here.
After doing a bit of research, I’ve come to find out that the “marimba” sound is actually an electric guitar run through a MIDI processor to get that quality. I know that the technology is decades old, but it’s still pretty amazing to me. Watch the video, in which the “band” discuss the logistics of it all:
Buy Ring in your choice of CD, LP, mp3, or lossless directectly from the band’s web store on the True Panther Records page here.