Glucose's hallucination-inspired jungle music
What happens when you mix a podcast conversation about telepathic octopuses with a psychedelic experience on DMT? The answer is Glucose's jungle-heavy EP, Telepathic Octopus. For electronic music fans of a certain age -- those old enough to remember the late '90s -- hearing Glucose's new EP, Telepathic Octopus, for the first time is like a trip back in time to the turn of the millennium, when IDM sought to take dance music away from such heavy reliance on looping but still bore a lot of influence from jungle and early drum and bass.
Glucose's hard and tough rhythms are paired with raw squelches of bass and then chopped and tossed. The sound is a direct offshoot of his influences, including LTJ Bukem and Photek, among others. It's sufficiently uptempo to inspire dance-like motions, but remains intelligent enough to entertain listeners with more than just a powerful loop-drop-loop recipe.
Glucose (aka Ben Gleason) had plenty of musical chops by the time he decided to take the solo electronic route. "By the time I was three," he says, "I had built my very own drum kit out of kitchenware. I started taking guitar lessons when I was young and then moved to bass when I was ten."
Playing in a handful of bands since high school, Gleason had been dabbling with electronic music on the side, starting with Garageband before upgrading to a mix of software and synthesizers. Up until his decision to make Glucose a full-time thing, he'd been playing in a prog rock band called Bokonon, an allusion to humanist mythology crafted by Kurt Vonnegut.
Although he'd initially been drawn to dubstep and bass music, it started to wear on him over time, and influences like Tipper and Sound Murderer began to push him toward jungle and IDM. "I've always been about making music that is fresh, new and creative," says Gleason. "For me to make dubstep at this phase, where dubstep is being played everywhere from frat parties to background music on Monday Night Football, would be the opposite of fresh, new and creative."
Having tackled straight-forward jungle with this EP, he's looking to branch out and experiment with different styles to challenge himself. While his new record, Third Ear, doesn't completely change formulas, Gleason has started experimenting with juke and footwork as well.
So what's up with the octopus? Gleason says he heard about telepathic octopus while listening to a Joe Rogan Experience podcast discussion about reincarnation and alternate dimensions: "A few months later I was visited by a Telepathic Octopus while having a psychedelic experience," he says. "The Octopus gave me some much needed wisdom and sent me on my way."
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.