Glasser pushes against structure
Cameron Mesirow has gone on record as saying that Interiors, her second album as Glasser, was inspired by buildings, which isn’t standard subject matter for pop music of any variety. This was largely a result of her having moved from Los Angeles to New York, where she finds herself surrounded by massive skyscrapers, and having read Dutch architect and theorist Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York.
Mesirow admits, however, that she doesn’t have the right mindset to ever become an architect herself. “I think that part of me would really love to be that type of thinker, but I’m not,” she says when the Straight reaches her on the road in San Francisco. “I’m just too much of a space cadet. My focus isn’t fantastic. For me, doing Glasser is definitely the most focus I’ve ever had, but there’s also a freedom within it to be as spaced-out as I possibly could be—creatively and expressively, I’m just allowed, in that realm, to be myself, and be as spaced-out as I am.”
Interiors certainly doesn’t sound like the product of anyone who fits the description of “space cadet”. Mesirow’s dreamy voice provides the album with its centre, but there’s a lot more to recommend the album than sweet, layered melodies. Working with studio wizard Van Rivers (Fever Ray, Blonde Redhead), Mesirow pushes Glasser into experimental areas, with slinky electronic beats anchoring instrumentation that blurs the lines between the organic and the synthetic. She is unapologetic in describing some of the sounds on the record as “fake”; in fact, she takes obvious delight in it.
“There are some real instruments on the record, but I like to sort of blend them so that you can’t really tell what’s real and what’s not,” she says. “At some point in my life I probably had an aversion to that style of going about things, but I’ve come to think of it as kind of a modern, expressive, sort of utilitarian, and perhaps egalitarian way of looking at music. To make music using fake horns or fake strings, I kind of dig it.”
The artwork for Interiors, and the video for the single “Design”, show Mesirow interacting with an amorphous, silvery substance that is constantly changing shape. In the video, it takes the form of an indeterminate, mirror-surfaced object of desire that the singer can’t quite grasp. This, it seems, is an indication that not everything in Glasser’s world is quite as concrete as a New York office block.
“I think it represents a lack of structure,” she says. “I guess in talking about stuff like buildings, that are so solid-seeming, and also in expressing with words the natural human need to define things—I think I’m pushing against that with the artwork. There’s a lot of stuff that is undefinable. I guess I’m one of those things, and that’s why it’s a reflective substance.”