- Outrage and intimacy meet on the New York noise artist's recent mixtape.
- The first time I saw Dreamcrusher perform, they were commanding the stage at last year's New Forms Festival. But the New York producer, also known as Luwayne Glass, was also opening it up. Intimate aggression anchored their set, as they thrashed around the room, sometimes forcefully shoving, pulling and shouting at bystanders, dissolving the barrier between them and Glass's madness. To be present was to welcome vulnerability in its rawest, but not necessarily its most oppressive form. The sting of distorted yelps was palliated by the warmth of candlelight and collective trust. The set left little room for guardedness.
As a noise artist, it's difficult to pin Dreamcrusher down. Across their massive catalog, (they have over 39 releases) Glass often melds power noise, punk, soul and industrial with thoughtful lyricism. In their recent release, Another Country, the more benign, melodic elements of noise are brought to the fore. Still undergirded by a layer of grit, shape-shifting guitar, hypnagogic pop, meditative drone and danceable electronics are grounded by the key tenets of power noise.
More than ever, Glass refines the interplay between unbridled rage and tenderness within this project. Soft-spoken poetry is obscured by blinding feedback. A distant, pensive melody is heard on what sounds like a guitar and violin, only it is clouded with white noise. There's a charming synth in one of the tape's closing tracks that resembles a musical jewelry box on its last legs, but distorted wails in the background offer it new life. And just when the record appears to reach its peak, the brilliantly paced mixtape often travels through Electronic Sonata-like tunnels of echoes and ambient.
Vocals are also a centerpiece of the tape, not because of what is being said, which is often difficult to make out beyond the static that pervades the piece, but because of how Glass evokes feeling with their voice. Backed by a blistering kick drum and a grating guitar, they can bring their voice to a low, mangled howl. But there's also a distinctly ethereal nature to their voice, a point shown best near the midpoint of the record, when their reverbed falsetto glides through blissful shoegaze.
The intent of tenderness arises in Glass's 2016 Village Voice interview, in which they describe their love for the "aggressive camaraderie" punk embodies. "I think it comes across as, 'Oh, you're this thing that looks different from everyone and you're taking that out on everyone,'" they say of their music. "And that's not really the case." In Another Country, unfettered emotion and a reach for human connection remain the mainspring of their work.
01. Another Country