Claude & Ola with Immara - Glimmers of Quintessence
Released: November 26
An otherworldly combination of textures and tones, Glimmers of Quintessence is the return of New York duo Claude & Ola to the Steep Gloss label, this time with further contributions from multi-instrumentalist Immara (Todd Lent). What is truly notable about this album is the depth of experimentation with each track latching on to wildly different motifs, with some being firmly in the realm of dark ambiance while others veer off into definitively jazz-like territory while still retaining a consistent atmosphere that comes across as cohesive and calmly chaotic.
The album opens up with something like a piano etude that is accompanied only by darkly-tinged noises that rise sharply and pierce through an otherwise calm piece in "Pokes." It sets an uncomfortable and ambiguous scene that only continues to descend into the uncanny. With the progression of the second track, "Digested in Breadth," we are introduced to the eerie vocal technique employed to further exacerbate the surrealistic aura with some vocals giving eerie harmonies that sound almost elegiac and other unsettlingly short and guttural. Outside of these eerie pieces, there are tracks like "ZSU" and "Cosmic Toppling" that bring in heavily jazz-inspired elements, particularly in the keys and percussion with seemingly erratic choices that baffle and amazing at the same time. But even these free-form pieces continue the same unsettling scenery heard throughout the album to form a carefully coordinated listening experience.