It’s been about six years since the last time I wrote about HD Harmsen and his musical gifts. He had a track and album that made my list of favorites in 2013 and 2017, but it’s been a while since I had heard from him. Now he’s ready to upload all of his material onto the streaming platforms, including his brand new album, Glaciers.
I’ve never met Howard, but I feel like I’ve gotten to know him through his music over the years. His personality comes through in a lot of ways, not only through some of the more obvious influences but also the uniqueness of his style. He has an ear for melody that I don’t think anyone else shares. The music is unendingly interesting because sometimes it doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does. And it works so well!
On Glaciers, much of the great guitar work and production is familiar if you’ve heard his stuff before. But take a listen with good headphones and check out all the deep layers he’s laid beneath the surface. I had a vision of Dewey Cox in the studio at one point as I was trying to hear every little thing going on in the background.
There are records that require collaboration and interpretation of ideas, and those can come out great. However, when someone has a particular vision for what they want, it can be beneficial to just do it all yourself, which is what Harmsen has done here. Every instrument, every vocal, every vibration from his mind and body. Glaciers is a truly singular performance, brilliant from top to bottom.
My personal favorite is “Enmeshed and Obsessed,” which features some beautiful synths. It fits in a really lovely section of the album where things slow down for a bit and you can really appreciate things as they’re happening. For a record that comes in under 30 minutes, Glaciers has a lot of threads to follow, and they reach a satisfying ending with the funky track “I Know.”
You can catch up with the first two albums by HD Harmsen on Bandcamp, and soon everywhere else you might stream music. Glaciers will be available shortly