Ride’s Andy Bell fronts up his first solo full-length under the name of GLOK. Dissident is a set of melodious and meaty electronica that draws from varied sources - Detroit techno, John Carpenter soundtracks, Boards Of Canada, that sort of thing. The epic title cut is Dissident's obvious highlight, its broiling synths ebbing and flowing across 20 Vessels-style minutes.
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- Dissident by GLOK
Remember when J. K. Rowling wrote that detective novel using the name Robert Galbraith and it only sold 500 copies? And then people found out it was her and now the BBC are making it into a TV show? Funny thing that.
I have to admire the initial impulse, to try and get an honest view of your work, stripped of your own legacy. Andy Bell from Ride has tried something similar with his GLOK project. There are certain expectations of you when you’re a part of one of the shoegaze genre’s most famous bands. First and foremost is that you’ll mostly be playing the guitar. And though the humble 6-string does feature on Dissident, a collection of released and unreleased GLOK tracks, it is not the star of the show.
No to find that, you need only look at the 20 minute long title track. In his time away from Ride, Bell’s clearly got himself a taste for electronics. It should come as no surprise, the amount of time he’s spent fiddling with pedals has clearly put him in good stead to fiddle with, uh, synths? The track is a beast, built around one core arpeggio that changes shape at Bell’s whims. Using filters and effects and probably lots more he’s able to build and sustain enough tension for the full 20 minutes.
That said, the tracks where his guitar comes to the forefront are probably my favourites. Particularly the haunting ‘Cloud Cover’ which transitions between strummed guitar and a synth for near-euphoric effect. And so I have to ask myself, would I have thought that without knowing who they were by?
We'll never know.
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