Movement EP

Xena Glas


Liam Murphy

November 21, 2022

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Through tumult and into warm tranquility, this release captures the emotions involved with acclimatising to a new place

Change is inherent when one begins to live in a different place. Uprooted habits must be adapted or even cast out entirely. This is to say nothing of the transformation of routines, places and people from present existence to memories.

Xena Glas takes to this life-changing process with an incredibly striking power as we enter into the aptly-named Movement EP. It takes only a minute for the soundscape to become alive with a deep foundational hum. It is daunting, characterising the unending rush of a new place, but there is a real feeling of warmth from it. Xena’s vocals gracefully play on top, tuned and phased in order to conjure a sharp resonance that cuts to the forefront of the mix. They are affirmations; attempts at steadying oneself as life flashes by, blurring and not allowing time for introspection. The vocals are dragged from the heart, strong but with an earthly spirit, adventurous but often drawing back to the same soulful trilling. The mood becomes more daunting around the halfway point however, as Xena guides the listener into a more theatrical and eerie section. On Floating, we find a clear divide between person and place. The emotive vocals illustrating a body initially at odds with its surroundings, trying its best to survive as the backdrop moves unpredictably around it.

Heavy feedback begins Falling as it is chopped with thoughtful keys. Somehow Xena brings these two juxtaposing sides together, the quieter side gradually poisoned by the noisy interruptions until the calm scene falls into dissonance. A rhythm begins to make itself known, but aspects of the track are at odds with their surroundings and clamber towards a tunefulness in the midst of chaos. Xena herself notes that this track is “an encapsulation of exploring an over-stimulating world”. Large grey sounds tower over us and the artist as those now-recognisable vocal flourishes attempt to soothe us once again. And that same melody climbs and stretches its limbs. Xena tries valiantly to call the listener back to a calm internal place where they might begin from, and try to assimilate themselves into their new home once more.

Recorded sound, a journey from an apartment complex to the subway. Light footsteps along an open walkway. The mood is altogether different here. The inclusion of that cityscape sound communicates that time has passed and we join Xena Glas in a place much closer to tranquility then in the first half of Movement EP. The vocals begin in what sounds a much more playful experimentation, a casual melody-making process while walking along in the city. There is less of a sense of danger or foreboding now. Beautiful electronic pads emerge from the skyline around us and those twinkling vocals begin to stretch out into the middle distance. An expertly orchestrated catharsis. The artist is undoubtedly closer to finding their place in this new location. To The A veers off into dynamic bass-y movements and slight changes in flow, but nothing is as catastrophic as it was. There is vitality where there was once confusion. All of this is handled masterfully by Xena Glas who weaves vocals, recorded sound and synth as if the three were meant to be together.

A plodding rhythm begins as we move from the subway towards riverside Manhattan. Xena’s vocals now appear as fractals, altogether changed and shifted; a part of the city’s makeup. There’s an overwhelming cohesion, what were warring aspects now find themselves meshing together naturally. The calming sounds of water begin to dribble into earshot, playful and non-threatening. A person calmly wandering by the riverside and making a small but striking statement of their belonging to their new home and vice versa. A soft and patient Manhattan surrounds us.

Xena Glas expertly displays the overwhelming feelings that can surface as a result of moving to the city. Using atmospheric synth and layering gorgeous vocal excursions on top, the listener can see that person, alone in a seemingly unsympathetic new landscape spiked with unpredictable percussion and dissonance. But the second half provides a cathartic embrace between person and place, an almost spiritual joining of the two into one pure form. A truly magnificent release from a promising artist.