by Olivia Goldman
The Glitch Mob, an electronic music DJ trio from L.A., are among the few artists set on providing the precedence for the genre Glitch-hop. This meta-electronic sound typically features a lot of noises that sound like something’s going wrong with your speakers, in the vein of Aphex Twin and Girl Talk pre-Night Ripper. The Glitch Mob and company became best known for harnessing these jarring sounds and turning them from songs that made you want to cringe to “dirty” beats that cause people to dance until their clothes come off.
Which is why after hearing the consistently compelling remixes by the Glitch Mob and the three members individually, edIT, Ooah and Boreta, I can’t say I wasn’t initially a little disappointed by The Glitch Mob’s debut album Drink the Sea. It’s not that on first listen the album lacked substance—it’s just that the group and its members had previously delivered such faultless tracks (100% guaranteed to get any dance party going) that the lack of break-beats and heavy bass in the first few tracks didn’t get me going. Unlike their previous work, that often featured rappers (superficially putting the “hop” in “Glitch-hop” and keeping the tracks dripping with SoCal flavor), there are hardly even any organic sounds on the whole album, save for the track “Between Two Points” that features L.A. vocalist Swan whose voice is so ethereal that considering that organic might even be a stretch.
Yet, change in a band’s style doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. While we will always have the Glitch Mob’s old tracks (“Nalepa ‘Monday’ Remix,” edIT’s album Certified Air Raid Material) for a good time, Drink the Sea definitely conveys a sense that The Glitch Mob is maturing musically, and with them the whole Glitch genre. The Glitch Mob, admitting influence from Pink Floyd, heads in a more cerebral direction with Drink the Sea, attempting to reach listeners through headphones (think Boards of Canada) rather than subwoofers, Drink the Sea expands the features of Glitch music into an expressive and resounding musical vocabulary, proving that it fits in with more serious forms of music as well as it does on the dance floor.
Olivia is a first-year at Barnard College and is Arts Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.
Image courtesy of AK Jigga.