Often when you hear words such as “enchantment” used regarding music (Glamourie is an archaic word for enchantment), you are faced with some fey folk music or overly-theatrical gothic, usually led by artists who consider themselves pagan because they have seen every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer!
The great thing about Merle Bardenoir, the man behind Glamourie, is that he is less about making music that talks about enchantment, magic, mysticism and the like and more about finding such qualities in the music itself. To this end, Imaginal Stage is a beautiful collection of instrumental songs which are tonally adventurous and structurally experimental.
Seemingly built from a combination of chiming folk sounds and ambient electronica, the tracks are made from lush tones and exquisite textures. Structurally anarchic, often sonically challenging and following paths which are about pushing creative boundaries rather than living up to listeners’ expectations, it may take you a few spins to appreciate the beauty inherent in the music, but that is because it is more than skin deep. Much more. Quick sonic hits and easy gratification are not what this is about. But if you want to immerse yourself in new and beguiling sonic worlds and explore ever-evolving, adventurous music, then this is definitely for you.
There is often a sense of the arabesque or the oriental, especially on Nymphal Sanctuary, which reveals itself to be the perfect balance of east meets west, orient meets occident. Occasionally the music is drifting and cinematic as with Fairy Ring, a dark blast of ambient and keening Celtica and tracks such s Where The Serpents Lay wander into the contemporary and experimental classical realms of pioneers such as Philip Glass or Steve Reich.
It is fair to say that this isn’t music made for widespread consumption, but it is a fascinating and vital step into understanding what music is and what it can be, even asking the question of where noise ends and music starts. Not only asking such questions but demonstrating that such demarcations and delineations are never fixed and are subject only to personal preference.