GEN F: Glasser

Photographer Daryl Peveto
September 05, 2011

Cameron Mesirow doesn’t speak like she sings. Driving home on her lunch break, she sounds plainly sunny, like a California girl. But as Glasser, she has a bright glisten, a quiver that is elusive as she discusses her family, her aesthetic, her general dillydaddling. But when she hears I’d been floated a copy of an unfinished demo by her True Panther label head Dean Bein, she gets stern. “Please do not—do not play that for anybody,” she says, a plea as much as a warning that recalls her songs in equal parts sharpness and anxiety.

Despite Mesirow’s objections, the unfinished “Treasury of We” is a worthy addition to her small set of buoyant, striking Glasser songs. Mesirow’s voice often glides above a heap of percussion—simple maracas or the metronomic pow-wow of a deep bass drum. This is not to say the songs are uncomplicated—her three-song debut EP is a maypole of interweaving vocals and melody—but their massiveness is in no way veiled. “Musically it’s very simple,” Mesirow says. “That’s kind of the beauty of it, really. I actually am not a master of the keyboard or any instrument, I think, aside from my voice. I’m not sure I’m a master at that.” Here she sounds less modest than conscientious, a new artist still fairly timid about what, until recently, had been a fairly private affair—it’s only in the last year that she’s debuted Glasser in public. “The songs are like sculptures, you know?” she says, defensive and proud but still deducing their origin and impetus herself. “I had the basic framework and then I added little by little to it, and it just turned into this maze, almost. It’s sort of a geometric map.”

Musical math talk is always reminiscent of modern composition, the weird graph paper weavings of John Cage or Philip Glass. Glasser’s melodies fit inside that carefully constructed box of bouncy minimalism, but the serpentine fervor of Mesirow’s voice shreds its haughtiness to pieces. She sings mostly, she says, about dreams. “I tend to use water a lot because lot of the songs are about dreams and memory and how those things—you can’t really hold on to them,” Mesirow says. She’s taking her time to piece them together song by song, writing and recording slowly. She’s good at avoiding work, calls sleep and dreams her “field research.” And making it easy on a dreamer, she says she records all her songs at home, in her room, while sitting on the corner of her bed, a short commute.

Stream: Glasser, Apply EP

GEN F: Glasser