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Melbourne’s mysterious music makers Glass Beams might be a band, it could be a person, or maybe it is something else entirely.
What we can be certain of is that the mystery behind the outfit is only half the intrigue – the rest belongs to the sublime sonic palette they delighted us with across 2021.
The origins of Glass Beams are equally as interesting. At the end of 2019, the project’s founder was looking for inspiration for new music and remembered watching a tribute concert for George Harrison with his parents. Harrison’s long-time collaborator Ravi Shankar formed an Indian Orchestra for the concert, and fascinated by his memory of how Shankar blended traditional ‘eastern’ melodies with more ‘western’ tempos – the inspiration for Glass Beams was found.
From there, Glass Beams began looking into the music from his father’s hometown in India and the surrounding areas – diving into a melting pot of Indian classical, disco, and pop music. If you’ve listened to even a minute of Glass Beams’ catalogue thus far, you’ll now better understand where the melding of sounds and culture is drawn from.
From there, it only took roughly 18 months until Glass Beams’ debut EP Mirage was out in the world. Released in June, the record received instant attention from the local Melbourne music scene, everyone wanting to know who was behind this magical record – but somehow, with all the attention, Glass Beams has still managed to remain shrouded in mystery.
With influences stretching back to ‘70s-era Indian disco and psychedelia while also firmly rooted in DIY electronic sounds, Mirage presents a heady, captivating 20 minutes, transporting you outside of your current space and jetting you off somewhere far, far away.
Irresistible grooves and introspective meditations, spacious instrumentals, glittering synths, and dizzying melodies, jazz, eastern scales, disco, ethereal sonics, twangy guitars – there is so much to explore across Glass Beams’ debut, a sound that Glass Beams themselves describes as “eastern-inspired western music” and a record that is both dynamic and unpredictable in the best way.
What heightens the Glass Beams allure are the dazzling masks each musician uses to obscure their identity. Created by a Russian jeweller, they ensure the music exists separate from the musicians – keeping the focus exactly where it should be.
Hopefully we’ll get to see those masks on stages around the country throughout the year.
Wanting to make music that exists outside of who they are as people and without any expectation that might come from any previous musical projects they’ve been in, Glass Beams is a mystery worth uncovering – we may not know much about them yet but we can’t wait to see how this project unfolds throughout 2022.