When it comes to crafting a beautiful record, American artist Jen Gloeckner is certainly one who takes her time. Ever since the release of her last record, 2010’s Mouth Of Mars, Jen has been working on refining her sound and style, resulting in her most recent record VINE – a more electronic, atmospheric, ambient and subtle music experience.
Critics have been lapping it up as one of her most beautiful records, and she herself is relieved to have the record out there after years of meticulously crafting and recording it in her home.
“It’s always a huge relief to wrap up a record,” Gloeckner tells Music Insight.
“The writing and recording process can take its toll both mentally and physically. But it is great to get it out and have people listening and enjoying it.
“I do all writing and recording at home. The process is similar to writing in a journal or diary. I do not really record demos, everything that is on the record is pretty much the end-product of what was started. I might re-record some vocals tracks or something, but for the most part the base of the song stays the same from start to finish. I can’t imagine recording a record in a studio in just a few days or weeks.”
Gloeckner takes a lot of influence from where she lives, on the shores of Dubuque, Iowa’s Mississippi River. However, while she used the same process for VINE as her previous records, this record was much more of a challenge for her.
“With VINE, I produced it as well. With Mouth Of Mars, Brian McTear co-produced much of it, and took things to another level. So with VINE, my expectations for myself were raised quite a bit, so I produced it as I went.”
It is clear though that the record, with its more subtle style compared to her more acoustically-based previous releases, been made with meticulous care. For Gloeckner herself, it was another chance to challenge herself musically.
“I think it [the sound] was more of a subconscious thing,” Gloeckner explains.
“I have not listened to either of the other two records I’ve done [Miles Away and Mouth of Mars] in years. I usually try to mix things up quite a bit from record to record, and even song to song, for that matter. I try to strip things of any gimmicky or trendy pop sounding stuff, and condense it down to the purest emotions I can dig up. Some people get it, while others don’t.”
While it is certainly not aimed to be commercial, Gloeckner has, through her music, created something incredibly emotional and powerful that people can easily connect to. She says a lot of credit should go to her collaborators, including John Ashton (Psychedelic Furs), Henry Padovani (The Police) and Angela Mattson (In The Valley Below).
“I was blessed to have them contribute, as well as all the other musicians that helped out. If anyone single track was removed from the record, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Gloeckner shows no signs of slowing down, and hasn’t ruled out the chance of doing a tour.
“That would be great, but we will have to see,” she laughs.
“I have started writing a new record, but hope to do some touring later this year. A video or two would be nice as well.”
For now, VINE is certainly a welcome addition; ideal for anyone looking for something away from the commercial sound of the mainstream and in search of music that is truly touching.
“I hope it takes them somewhere, away from all the craziness that is going all around us these days, at least temporarily.”
VINE is out now.
Originally published in Music Insight, May 26, 2017. Read here.