The date is set for Glyphs fourth EP release. “Out to Sea” will be available for purchase on October 20th 2014 via Small Sounds. Glyphs comprise of Liverpool duo singer/ songwriter Mark Walsh and producer Matt Wilkie. Elements of folk are combined with melodic pop and synthesised electronica. The music is extremely ambient in nature and appeals to our senses. Personally, I cannot define Glyphs in one word or say who they sound like. Glyphs posses a unique sound all to their own.
Mark Walsh embarked on a two year adventure across Asia and Australia but decided to move down to London in search for work in 2010. Matt Wilkie and Mark Walsh were friends previous to this move. Mark offered Matt a room to stay and the end result was the pair lived together for the next three years. Both were musically creative and had already begun to hone in on their talents before the collaboration. It made sense to combine skillsets.
Matt dabbled with Djing before the eventual role as producer of Glyphs while Mark wrote songs on his own. The duo never released music until Glyphs was formed. However, they each owned material and were knowledgeable enough to provide Glyphs with a powerful kickstart. To date, Glyphs have produced three EP’s from 2011 to present. Their self titled EP “Glyphs” was brought out in February of 2011. “Small Sounds” followed in September of the same year. Two years after their first EP saw the release of “Locks & Keys” in February 2013.
(Promo shot and Out to Sea artwork)
“Out to Sea” opens Glyphs fourth EP. The song begins with hand clapping followed by pop infused electronica. The flow here is really something. A longer introduction than “Man of Straw Man of Stone” exists before vocals in “Out to Sea”. Vocals are clearer and less distorted. They are more suited towards pop. The pop infused electronica becomes extremely fast paced and amplifies for a short time alongside the first chorus. This is how each chorus is layered out. Four segments make up “Out to Sea”. The last chorus is repeated twice. The first half includes handclapping and the second includes the pop infused synth. The final chorus is drawn out towards the end providing a gradual closing to “Out to Sea”.
I really enjoyed the opening for “Shed Skin”. It’s very much a cool summer beat. Overall, the pace and tone of “Shed Skin” is quite steady in comparison to other songs. Any changes made are gentle. “Shed Skin” is a feel good easy listening track with beats that intertwine and interchange. The opening beat is subtle and gradual. So too are vocals. Nearly a minute in and beats pick up, progressing to an exhilarating effect. A chorus influences beats to ease. The last half of “Shed Skin” remains positive and the ending is as gradual as the opening.
“The Machine” is about “rediscovering an old talent or interest and the excitement of getting back into it”. There is a comparison between this song and “Man of Straw Man of Stone”. Background music is dark and vocals are distant. Some lyrics can be made out, some cannot. A lengthy introduction with beats and an electronica soundscape exist before vocals. “The Machine” is similar to “Man of Straw Man of Stone” in the sense that beats and soundscape almost overpower vocals. If Mark had not disclosed to me the theme of this song I would of been under a different perception. In reality the theme is hopeful. Certain lyrics like “evil forces” express to me a darker ideology. I would of made a stab at guessing “The Machine” portrays hopelessness. However, this is not the case.
“Out to Sea” closes with “Man of Straw Man of Stone” and begins with a high quality, ambient, and electronica soundscape. This sound is visually appealing and evokes a neutral feeling within the listener. Images of landscapes came to my minds eye upon listening. After thirteen seconds, a hip hop beat is introduced adding variety. The electronica soundscape fades and vocals are projected for the first time with lyrics I cannot fully make out. The last half of these lyrics are drawn out enabling them to be comprehendible. A futuristic synth is then combined with R’N’B beats and vocals. “Man of Straw Man of Stone” reverts back to the soundscape filled with ambience from the beginning. After a while something new is introduced. Another futuristic synth joins the soundscape.
There is a sudden eruption of sound following on from the chorus “Man of Straw Man of Stone”. Every sound introduced so far is included. The amplification leads to a fading of sound becoming much softer. I think the vocals are distant on purpose. You can’t quite make them out at times but they do have a presence. There’s a stronger emphasis on synth and soundscape. Vocals are secondary. However, the lyrics which contain the title can always be understood. Fleeting words like “on your own” are heard. “Man of Straw Man of Stone” closes with beats darkening and fading. The song is an epitome of a journey. The soundscape and certain lyrics envision a lone traveller against the world.
When and where was Glyphs formed?
“Glyphs was formed in 2010. We’d known each other for a few years before in Liverpool, and had been making music separately for years. it wasn’t until Mark came back from two years travelling, moved to London and ended up living in Matt’s spare room that we started making music together.”
Can you tell us a bit about your background? What were you doing before Glyphs?
“We’re both from Liverpool and met back there through a mutual friend. We both did a lot of different things before Glyphs – Mark taught English in a few countries and did odd jobs while backpacking, then worked in marketing in London, and Matt studied music production and did everything from pizza delivery to running his own shop.”
How would you describe your sound?
“It’s a difficult one to sum up. It’s basically pop music. Electronica with folky vocals, with a bit of everything thrown in along the way.”
You’ve been described as “curious, exotic nuggets” by Clash Magazine. What do you think this description means and how do you feel about being described in this way?
“I think they’re referring to the fact that we are influenced by a lot of different genres and it’s this mixture which makes up our sound. Hopefully that means you can find more depth to our songs on repeated listening. We take it as a compliment!”
Are there any musical instruments used in your albums or is it simply all electronica?
“We do sometimes use instruments as well as found sounds in our music. The single Out to Sea has a bit of mandolin and handclaps to give it that live feel. Everyone loves a handclap…”
Can you provide a bit of background knowledge into “Man of Straw Man of Stone”?
“We’re both fans of nineties r’n’b and hip hop, and we thought it’d be interesting to hear those beats in the context of a Glyphs song. We built on these beats and ended up with something quite different from where we started out.”
Can you provide a bit of background knowledge into “Out To Sea”?
“Mark wrote this one about his travels in Cambodia. It started out on the guitar, and has seen a few versions before we settled on this one. It’s probably the poppiest song we’ve done so far.”
Can you provide a bit of background knowledge into “Shed Skin”?
“This took a slightly different route. Matt wrote the beat and sent it to Mark, who wrote the vocal line later. The main vocal was recorded in one take, really recently actually.”
Can you provide a bit of background knowledge into “The Machine”?
“This was the first song we wrote for the new EP. It’s about rediscovering an old talent or interest and the excitement of getting back into it again.”
What’s next for Glyphs? Are there plans to work on a debut album next after four EP’s?
“We’ll be doing a few live shows later this year, and we’re already recording new stuff for our next release. We haven’t really decided whether it will be an album yet, but good point…we should get cracking!”
Answers by Mark Walsh
“An impressively unpredictable brand of electronic music, with everything from a folktronica influence to heavy dubstep”- Faded Glamour