Published Jan 09, 2015Glass Elk, the side project of Alex Metcalfe (aka Waxlimbs) and Kaiya Morgulis, is a detour that was two years in the making. Glassworks was forged in Mississauga, but its stark tones give it more of a Northern Territories feel. Isolation, vast expanses and loneliness are all themes that are touched on here, not through sorrowful lyrics but through Glass Elk's poignant instrumental arrangements. "1000" in particular offers just the right amount of woe in its piano work before gently bringing in the off-kilter percussion and wrench-tightening crackle. This technique of sombre keys and IDM-spattered drums is used throughout Glassworks, and to great effect, but there's occasionally an attempt to crossover into a floor-filling dance track that unfortunately sounds laboured. This tonal shift is strikingly obvious on "Atomos," on which the track's beautiful downtempo beginnings are eventually ramped up to 11, in a move that comes off like a bad remix of the track's earlier subtleties.
Glass Elk do electronic quietude very well throughout Glassworks, but fail to reach the same levels when it comes to straight up dance music. Perhaps a focus on one of these areas would yield far greater results than this merely adequate attempt to straddle both. (Independent)