The 15 years that Phoenix-born, Oakland-based musician James Roemer has been working as Glochids have been a period of experimentation held together by a few powerful sensibilities and an enduring hostility to comparison. His 2013 album Originals (Weird Ear), a good introduction for those who need one, layered field recordings, electroacoustic sketches, and cheap hardware techno across 18 vignettes, arranged with the elegant errancy of his collage-like album covers. The artist, who roams sonic territories far and wide both between and within releases, tells me his first album on Angelo Harmsworth’s Santa Fe-based label Lime Lodge — one of our favorites — represents a return to the form of his earliest work, ca. 1999.
In Water on Silver, I hear the “long-form layers of slowly evolving keyboards” that he told me characterizes both, but I also hear those keyboards spiraling into glimmering, percussive fragments for a few moments, reliably, often flanked with the familiar squelch of an acid house arp. For an album that zones and jams in the general direction of New Age, it’s also got the agile eclecticism, the individual moxie, that keeps Roemer operating at his unique and challenging frequency. In a track like “FM Biotopo,” the different parts of his practice don’t feel very different anymore, as a field of sampled sound becomes a rhythm and then ambience. Other tracks, like “Silk String,” are narrower studies, still finding and bringing to light the different textural possibilities in something like guitar noodling being simulated on a keyboard. Roemer weaves them into a fairly convincing whole.
We’re streaming Water on Silver below, and you can order the LP now from Lime Lodge.