Bears is the debut album of Gonçalo Pereira, under the alias Diamond Gloss. His sound and melodies incorporate elements of modern classical, electronica, idm, ambient, and post-rock music with live instrumentation.
Pianos, micro-beats, effects-treated guitars, music-boxes, lo-fi strings arrangements and other acoustic instruments such as glockenspiels are the vehicles that shape this carefully produced and layered, non-linear quest. His influences travels among modern composers such as Arvo Pärt and Henryk Górecki, the ambient experiments of Brian Eno or his peers Autechre, Hammock, Sigur Rós, Helios and Múm.
Bears takes us on a journey through landscapes and environments that oscillate between contemplative, tender sometimes mournful symphonic melodies and gleeful, joyful and explosive moments
Diamond Gloss’s debut album “Bears” is a fresh take on the usual dark, droning styles of post-rock and ambient IDM.
The record showcases a more lighthearted take on the styles and is able to find a unique identity in two genres that are quickly becoming harder to find a voice in.
Diamond Gloss is the alias of Portuguese post-rock musician Gonçalo Pereira (not to be confused with the guitar virtuoso of the same name) who established himself as a solo musician after fronting the band How Comes The Constellations Shine.
His solo work features many of the set piece calls of a post-rock/ambient IDM album with its slow, passionate piano work, droning background sweeps and glitchy electronics, making for an album that easily showcases its influence from acts like Helios, Secede, Sigur Rós and Múm.
From that basic starting point however Diamond Gloss adds these very happy and high pitched instruments like music boxes and glockenspiels. The inclusion and use of these instruments take the usually serious emotional tone of post-rock and inverts it into an almost innocent and nostalgic, emotional style.
It’s hard to describe through words alone how this transition is accomplished but this sound is strong and striking when experienced. Songs like “Walnut and Trees Tables” invoke the thought of taking a nap in a kindergarten music room as an autumn evening breeze chills the air outside; it’s peaceful, serene, and calming.
While the majority of the album maintains its almost gleeful sound, Pereira is not afraid to show his serious side. “Fawns,” the album’s closing track takes a different turn than the rest of the album, it drops the joyous tones of earlier tracks and creates a song that brings the album’s theme of accepting that we all grow up full circle.
For as much praise I have given so far for its emotional sound work, “Bears” isn’t for everyone. With no vocals, a non-linear songwriting style and half of the tracks reaching over 10 minutes in length people who do not actively listen to this style of music may be deterred from it.
It has other problems as well; tracks like “I am Black and Blue All Over” and “Step Piece” are too short to craft a song that can compete with the other tracks off the album.
Regardless of what type of music fan a person is, when “Bears” stands on its own it is a beautifully crafted escape through a trail that post-rock and ambient IDM do not normally travel down. With its innocent and emotional pull, it is an easy recommendation, even if this may not be your musical cup of tea.
It was a suprise for me to discover a new record label (Fluttery) starting in 2011 with a debut "Bears" by the Goncalo Pereira, the man behind the Portuguese post rock / drone project Diamond Gloss.And what a gateway for me! Bears is a journey into a dream world you are allowed to visit- at least, with musical help - with repetitive chunks of dark drones, unique mixes by Pereira, mediocre noise music with backwards samples which are far beyond being ordinary with the nice Glockenspiels. All in all, "Bears" about everything I need for the next few months. But are you able to sit still with wide open minds for a good hour? I dare to promise to "Bears" will reward you richly!
Post-rock has always been a container concept for more imaginative rock and electronic music with rock patterns. Nevertheless, with this label it is generally clear what to expect. Well then, the Portuguese musician Gonçalo Pereira, in How Comes The Constellations Shine before, and not to be confused with the guitar virtuoso one can find when one googles the name, with his project Diamond Gloss also makes music that can be placed somewhere in the post-rock genre. Somewhere, because the music on his debut Bears, released by quality label Fluttery, is mainly electronic and really broader than just this genre. Neoclassical, ambient, idm and glitch are also woven into his intimate post-rock patchwork. Namely, aside from the electronic sounds, glitches, and symphonic harmonies, one can also hear several sometimes electronically transformed acoustic instruments or fragments thereof, from mouth-organ to typewriter, guitar, and bowed string instruments. This is further colored by means of desolate piano pieces. The music is very modest and sad, which in all likelihood is related to the fact that he dedicated it to his late wife. The serene and restful music pleasantly enters the subconscious, like a daydream, lovingly covering the nightmare hiding beneath. The tracks vary in length from 3.5 to 12 minutes. The music has the nice cosiness of Múm, the melancholic electronics of Helios and Hammock, the neoclassical of Peter Broderick, Marsen Jules and Yawning, and the post-rock of Brian Eno in an ambient production. No obstacles in sight, but wonderful music to come to one’s senses. Movingly good dream debut!
Fluttery Records wants to be your new favorite post-rock label, and it's already made a series of bold moves this year to that end. Portugeuse post-rocker Gonçalo Pereira is also looking to reinvent himself. The former frontman of How Comes the Constellations Shine has taken the solo route with Bears, and has recently adopted the name Diamond Gloss. The label and artist make a perfect match, and each is bound to benefit from the new relationship.
To be clear, Bears is not for everyone. It's an astonishingly beautiful album that operates in the higher registers of timbre, utilizing music boxes, bells, pianos, glockenspiels and strings. Fair comparisons have already been made to Sigur Rós and múm. To be more specific, the album sounds like the most ethereal and floaty bits of Sigur Rós ("Ba Ba" and the interludes of longer songs) and the more melodic instrumental work of múm, circa Finally We Are No One. More recent peers include Rhian Sheehan's Standing in Silence and Pawn's Glass + Breath. Those who enjoy the sounds of winding and ticking, of toys and chimes, of childhood lost and found will absolutely adore this album; those who are looking for darkness, much less so.
There is such a thing as too much sweetness. One of America's favorite breakfast cereals is a colorful sugary concoction called Fruity Pebbles; last year Kellogg's decided to add cupcakes. That's right, Fruity Pebbles with cupcakes. (Portugeuse readers: imagine pastéis de nata smothered in caramel, with sprinkles added.) On first listen, Bears comes across like this: a bit too much. This is because the first impression is one of tone alone. We're used to hearing this sort of thing in fragments of songs - usually introductions or codas - or in a few songs on an album, not for 65 uninterrupted minutes. Yet subsequent spins begin to unveil surprising aspects of the music. First, a lot of variety is found within this seemingly narrow timbral band, and each song is distinctive from the rest, occupying a specific strand of thoughtful, playful music: the marching band, the bell choir, the ambient drift. Second, the album is much more complex than it seems on the surface, with layer upon layer of morphing melody and sound, so much so that it often sounds like the work of a full band. And third, the album is not as happy as it first seems; a tiny current of melancholy runs beneath, which lends it a certain depth, especially in the closing minutes. The final two tracks aim deeper in the heart, and they hit their mark.
According to the liner notes, the original album title may have been when the bear ate the fawn, and the album is dedicated to the memory of Pereira's wife. It's always amazing to see a performer transcend tragedy through art, finding the inner resources that turn loss into inspiration. While there is never a replacement for a loved one, there is often a way to feel that person's presence by continuing to honor them as muse. In this context, Bears seems to be peering back to a more innocent time, less in despair than in thanksgiving. The generous playground electronics that dot the early part of the album may represent consolation through celebration: look how much goodness is still around us, even so. As the album winds down - quietly, like a bedtime story - the listener is left with the feeling that the artist may be well acquainted with the shadows, but prefers to live in the light. The album's last natural sound is that of a person splashing in a puddle, one of the most joyous and least self-conscious of all human acts. This sound provides the impression of bright umbrellas and matching plastic boots, a break in the clouds, a sudden spring after a wearying winter.
Bears is not for everyone, but those who love it will love it like a sunbeam.
Diamond Gloss is the project on his own of the Portuguese Gonçalo Pereira, 26 years old, previously leader of How Comes The Constellations Shine. However, while listening to Bears, his first album, we would swear it is a real band crossing acoustic and electronic, picking up a little the things again where Múm unfortunately left them.
It's the occasion to be introduced with the label Fluttery Records with an album that represent perfectly the American organization that is built on post-rock in the large sense of it, having his eye on electronics as on neoclassical music . We'll have the occasion to come back on this label in the next weeks coming.
The introduction is quite atypical with a music that seems coming from far away, mix of reverberated guitar and piano that we seem to be closer then. I Am Black And Blue All Over is an introduction that we could called interlude if it wasn't the first track on the album. In addition, the Portuguese produced mostly long pieces, flights of 10-12min, that he controls wonderfully. Admittedly, the receipt quite remains the same, the instrumentation doesn't change, but the album doesn't suffer of any effect of repetition though.
The Portuguese begins generally softly, inserting an electronic in which we can appreciate the aridity (cracking and spluttering of Canadians, sizzling and shrieking textures of Argyle Square) or the evocation (recording of an old writing machine on Walnut And Trees Tables, field recordings on Fawns). The young artist often plays with contrasts, putting there some nice melodies, obvious and shiny, putting on front piano and glockenspiel, sometimes inserting some tournaments and ambiances on guitars that will possibly be compared to Sigur Ros
After each element in its right place, the rest seems clear. Melodies are amplified and are growing, some arrangements appear as ethereal scapes, melodic loops and rhythmic elements, a kind of maracas on Canadians or some wonderful dry snaps and cracks on Walnut And Trees Tables. Bit-by-bit, the sound thin down, all the elements are mixed together as an abstract ambient, a dream refined by cracking and bright tinkling (Argyle Square) or a melody of piano (Filter Fat Corner)
However, the end of the album seems to us a little more moderate less sparkling. From Glasses, the Portuguese opt for a calmer tempo, and choose an uncluttered style on Step Piece, putting in front the piano, vaguely accompanied with field recordings and some ambiances and whirling guitars. That's why Fawns seems to be an awaken dream, in the middle of the spirits of the forest and finishing at the edge of a river.
This first trial, effective and wonderfully made. An artist certainly promising.