From the first bar of the title track of Glasys’ debut EP The Pressure, it is already clear that Gil Assayas is a musician of rare talent and skill. The Portland based Assayas is possessed of rather intimidating piano chops and assembled an impressive collective of musicians for the project.
Assayas opens the album with quick descending arpeggios as his piano sound devolves from a sparkling grand into various synths. After the initial ear catching melodies, the drums begin to take center stage as Philip Wiseman plays a fierce, syncopated rhythm. Wiseman’s Darren King-esque abilities bring you careening through the track as the polyphonic “Pressure” of life starts escalate alongside Assayas’ blaring lead synth.
In “Abyss,” Assayas articulates an anxious fear of annihilation. The track begins in somber contemplation and culminates in chaos finally breaking of in a voidal, reverberating silence. “Old” plods along with a limping rhythm during the verses opening into a wide, ethereal space during the choruses.
The high water mark of the album is “No Chronic Pain, No Gain” in which Assayas’ meandering vocal drives the track in a manner reminiscent of Animal Collective. Midway through the song, Assayas’ most impressive piano work is put on broad display, breaking into a rollicking synth crescendo. “Falling” works as a very effective closer. The undulating arpeggiation gives the listener a physical sense of weightlessness matching the content perfectly.
Released in September of 2016, The Pressure was recorded at Cloud City Sound Studios and its lush production was masterfully mixed by Tony Lash and Domestic Studios’ Ido Ofir. Listeners of Miike Snow or Animal Collective ought to perk up their ears, though fans of many other genres should certainly be intrigued as well. The Pressure holds strongly to a “form follows function” aesthetic throughout its length which is the measure of most good art. It has the pop sensibilities of mass appeal without sacrificing a progressive, musically complex mindset. The album doesn’t rely very heavily on lyrical complexity, instead opting to let the emotional weight and power be transferred through the dynamic instrumentation. This first effort exhibits a masterful creativity and anticipates tremendous work in the future.