You are reading the older HTML site

Positive Feedback ISSUE 67
may/june 2013


Sonic Satori - Glen Hansard Digs Deeper on Rhythm and Repose
by Michael Mercer

There's so much good music out there. I'm sick of hearing people complain about the current state of pop music and pop music culture. Typical complaints range from the reliance on technology; perhaps helping the not-so-talented achieve pop stardom thanks to software like Autotune. Another constant complaint I hear is aimed at electronic music. People often say it's monotonously menacing, like the sounds of a washing machine. Well, I have a feeling these complaints are nothing new. I'm sure people were saying the same thing about John Cale and Kraftwerk. The bottom line: Diversity in the music is a grand thing. It's helps open our eyes to different cultures, and the dreams of the people who live it. Don't waste time complaining about what other people enjoy that you don't. Find what speaks to you and bask in it! Life is to be enjoyed, and frankly, I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy it without great music as an accompaniment. There's nothing like finding that perfect song or album for the mood you're in. It takes you elsewhere, even if only for fleeting moments. The only negative side to all this music? There's so much out there (especially if you look in the right places) you're always missing something terrific!


I realized I've had a gem of an album under my nose for over a year: Glen Hansard's Rhythm and Repose. Hansard is widely known for his band The Swell Season (with Marketa Irglova), and is an Oscar-Award winning songwriter for the film Once: One of the most sincere looking glasses into my generations love for music on-screen. I highly recommend the film, and sorry for the temporary distraction. Hansard has a voice and singing style that's so unique and emotively powerful, it draws you in. He's often prone to long, high pitched wails in his choruses. It's as if he's screaming his joy and pain out there for everyone to feel. He's also very likable, which is important for a straight-up singer/songwriter. His Irish twang and intensity on the guitar make for a splendid sonic dance, manifesting in some of the most original-sounding pop music in twenty years.

When Once hit the screen it was Hansard and Marketa Irglova's sweet, emotively charged tunes that carried the film. It was also a tale of a love affair through music, but one that never reached beyond that. Ironically, Irglova and Hansard were dating at the time of the shoot. So obviously their authenticity was off the charts. You could also tell there was some sort of parallel between the plot of the film and the story of their relationship. But shit did they sing with soul. My wifey and I loved the movie. We bought it as soon as it became available. So we've been following their work ever since. Irglova also put out a solo album in 2012 entitled Anar. It's a terrific light-hearted record. Both of them possess a terrific command of poetry and the power of melody through simplicity. Hansard shows he's mastered both art-forms with Rhythm and Repose. From the Summery glow of “Don't Leave Me Waiting” to the heartbreak and triumph of “The Storm, It's Coming” Hansard proves himself an artist by touching the infinite, even if only for fleeting moments. When I listen to this song I can't help but think of my father, and all the things I've wanted to say to him since I was sixteen. But, as the song progresses, I realize all that's coming from fear of the past. I worked my ass off to get outta dodge and live with the woman I love. Hansard's music leads me to believe he's been through experiences just like these. Isn't that one of the goals of the singer/songwriter? To connect with their audience? Well, I can't say it enough: Hansard sounds like one of the boys to me. Check this record out if you don't already own it. I'm glad I decided to pop the disc in the drive!