The Glacier Effect is Jason McCann, a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and graduate of the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences who is currently based in Sacramento, California. The project’s music incorporates elements of shoegaze, indie rock, Goth, darkwave, and 90’s alternative rock to create its unique, guitar-based, cinematic sound. The quality of work across The Glacier Effect’s latest 10 track album release, “False Memories” is uniformly high and displays a genuinely concise approach: tightly structured, unadorned, precisely detailed pieces that never over stay their welcome, and never exhaust their premise. Which of course is so unlike most instrumental music.
Before applying any precise label on this album, The Glacier Effect deserves broader consideration. On the continuum between the poignant work of God Speed You, Black Emperor! to the artful intransigence of Silver Mount Zion, and ending with the guitar orientated meandering of Explosions in the Sky, this project straddles the sweet spot in the center.
Not burdened with artful abstraction, and gleefully free of abstruse guitarism, the music found on “False Memories” marks out that hard to set boundary defined by understatement and symmetric musical structures.
The Glacier Effect is more than capable of developing the most convincing and affecting contrasts of tension and release applied with purpose and melody while staunchly avoiding the outright ostentation of more commonplace showmanship.
This is fine guitar dominated instrumental work that encourages active listening as well as offering rewards to those who appreciate consistently subtle timbral atmospherics. The musical turns The Glacier Effect make on this album also carry many emotional moments, which, if you ask me, is the most important component in any instrumental genre.
From the moment “Fireworks In September” kicks off the album you are firmly taken on a journey of sound and emotion. The interesting combination of heavy guitars and rumbling bass in the background create a restless atmosphere that will swallow you.
The second song, “Sleep. Dream.” is reserved for a somewhat more expansive and jangling guitar sound. But The Glacier Effect has an inexhaustible source of ideas and energy, showing on the crunchy, overdriven “Street Drugs” that Jason can challenge himself and push the boundaries. His songs can be dark and heavy or extremely ethereal and ambient.
“Your Mind’s Got A Face”, switches the sonic code to brighter, more shimmering, ambient guitar sounds, while the slower “Dreamscape” forges the aforementioned etherealness. These tonal shifts not only allows The Glacier Effect to cover a large sonic landscape, but also to weave a plethora of emotions into the music.
Jason McCann always has a good understanding of this aspect and ensure that his music has not only the rich dynamics that his style allows, but also the emotional response it calls for. Nowhere are these two aspects more apparent together, than on “Runway” and “Downpour”, for me, probably the best tracks in the collection.
The incredibly soothing way the lush and melodic ambiance soars on the title track “False Memories”, truly sounds beautiful and adds an extra amount of depth to the album. The bass-driven soundscape provides the towering terrain while the guitar work genuinely says more than words ever could. “The 14 Line” picks up the pace and tone.
The atmosphere rises along with the swelling guitar and drums, leading up to a thoroughly exceptional composition. The album starts beautifully and ends that way too with a far reaching atmosphere of spacey vibes on “The Launch”. The song is crammed with tension and melodrama. Twisting the volume knob up reveals the massive wall of sound that is capable of melting your eardrums at high levels.
“False Memories” main strength is its incredible consistency in two crucial areas. Firstly, in its high level of quality; there’s no fat anywhere on this album, no lulls, and no long-stretches where you’re tempted to reach for the skip button.
The album’s second weapon is its raw emotive power. Despite the wordless songs, or in fact because of it, this music cuts straight past the intellectual centers and goes straight to the sensory receptors, and it’s there that The Glacier Effect hits the hardest.