Gonçalo Pereira [ born 1984. Lisbon, Portugal ] is a multi-instrument player, post-rock, ambient electronica musician and producer. Pereira first started as the frontman of the post-rock band How Comes The Constellations Shine before establishing himself as a solo artist under the moniker of Diamond Gloss. His sound and melodies incorporate elements of modern classical, electronics, 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 ] ~ [ Henryk Górecki ] the ambient experiments of [ Brian Eno ] or his peers [ Autechre ] ~ [ Hammock ] ~ [ Sigur Rós ] ~ [ Helios ] and [ Múm ].
[ Bears ] 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.
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.