Chaotic and catchy by deliberately delightful design, Canadian psychedelic art pop / experimental rock vanguard Glutenhead has released his debut full-length LP, Glugen Frau — available now!
The album — and its premiere single “how it feels” — pull the curtain back on Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Benjamin Shapiro, and his distinctly multi-layered sonic style.
“The music is mostly aimed at representing the impressionistic and surreal quality of dreams and memories,” Shapiro shares. “I was studying neuroscience when I learned just how fluidly our brains construct our reality. The brain’s weakness and strength is the inability to discern what is real. There is a top-down influence on our perception, our minds simultaneously making connections between bits of information and building what we perceive.
“I learned how every word, construct, idea has weight because each has the capacity for a universe, and an opportunity for meaning. Each one holds time and place inside itself, recalling personal experience, and allowing that internal experience to unfold into the external world. Language, then, becomes a raw material to construct the experience around it.”
As he started to tire of his course load — which also included philosophy and music — Glutenhead “became an outlet for my creative and existential musings.”
“It exists as a project linked to a place and people. It’s the composite of the influence of living, writing, and recording in ‘Casa del Crusto’ — a 19th century, completely cut-up and slightly run-down Victorian home on a quiet side street in the middle of hot streak Toronto — that was always full of people moving in and out, bringing home their own kinds of mess and endeavours.
It’s a chaos that considers the coming-to of a collective thought, the friction and energy between people, their own intimacies.”
It was at ‘Casa del Crusto’ that Shapiro connected the ultimate dot: the term ‘glugen frau’ and how it fit into his musical and life experience.
“The phrase first came up in my life innocuously about five years ago,” he recalls. “I was 18, in Berlin, and sitting with a girl at a restaurant. Vintage tin cans lined the walls and the air tasted like malt, celery, and burnt orange.
“Gluten didn’t sit well with her and, at some point, it came time to let our German-speaking waiter know about her non-gluten needs. In a moment of manic, realizing I didn’t know any German, I asked for the food to be ‘glugen frau’.”
Glugen Frau — now the name of the album — translates roughly into English as ‘glimmering woman.’
“That phrase became sticky in my mind,” he shares. “Cropping up in my consciousness, it’s faint… Then jumps out when triggered, like any memory that becomes symbolic. Leaking, like a pen on the run from the law.
“That phrase and its multiplicity of meaning — both personal, temporal and external — fit as the basis of this project. The album is an exercise of living within — within a house, a dream, a city, a memory, a projected landscape — and designed to be brought through time, like a mechanism to wrap personal feelings around, create memories around, or fabricate fantasies with.
“Like honey catching flies, it’s a way to attach the internal into something that can be accessed externally. The music is not ‘on top of time,’ but inside it, and best understood by living with it.
“These songs uncover themselves as you inhabit them.”
Glugen Frau and “A Windy Day” are available now.