A brief history for those unaware, Glass started in the early 70's in the Pacific Northwest. They were overlooked by many labels in the USA and UK. Then in 1979 they sadly disbanded due to the lack of interest of record labels and the rise of punk and disco. After several decades, they resurfaced in 2000 to release the archival "No Stranger To The Skies III" part CD series, Volumes I & II were released in 2000 as a double and Volume II was released in 2001. These CDs showed how the band sounded in their heyday both in studio and live.
Now in 2005, Glass has finally recorded their first true album, Illuminations. Unlike other bands with their experience, they don’t have that retro sound or re-union style happening with their music. In fact, in many ways it sounds like a long lost album of the 70's but with a new millennium vibe. Illuminations is an instrumental album with the exception of some spoken word parts and some wordless singing. The band incorporates of jazz, fusion, orchestral symphonic Prog as well as ambient tones and nods to the famous Canterbury scene of the 70's. One thing the prospected listener should know is Glass while having those comparisons, is very much their own. They belong amongst the ranks of their idols.
This is one of those albums that should be listened to in one sitting. It's also best to use headphones for the optimum aural experience. I have no favorite songs amongst the three suites, The Secret Life Of Aqua J. Long (which showcases the more ambient side of Glass), Electronic Synaesthasia (this shows Glass' electronic side) and Alchemy Of The World (which has a classic Prog style to it). One complaint, and it's a minor one, is that I wished those suites were each tracked as one instead of three. Anyways I like 'em all so that's what really counts. One song does have a very modern vibe to it and it's the final track called Gaia. I think it's a glimpse of what Glass can explore in the near future. No let's hope the band will release their next album with a shorter wait.
In closing I do believe, thanks in part to Musea, that Glass will finally get their rightful place in Prog history. Heck they have all the elements in what it takes to be called progressive rock. I would recommend Illuminations to all fans of progressive rock. So now that you read this, you should be going to your favorite online vendor and placing your order. Do it.... do it NOW!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on December 13th, 2005