Palo Alto, CA
ProgRock, Adult Contemporary, Rock, Modern Rock
Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Portishead, Julie Cruz
Glass Wave - Glass Wave seeks to preserve and revitalize the source texts that inspire the music by translating old stories from great books of Western literature, whose stories are recast in the genre of cerebral rock. - #CyberPR
“The music takes well known characters from western literature and turns the narrative on its head: in the band's songs, Lolita tells her own story, Ophelia has her say, Moby Dick contributes whale songs, and Frankenstein's creature resuscitates his image. “
The Chicago Blog
”There are plenty in higher education who devote themselves to interpreting rock and roll as literature. Fewer devote themselves to the interpreting literature as rock and roll. But that is what four California academics — three at Stanford University and another at the University of California at Los Angeles — set out to do with their band, Glass Wave.”
Inside Higher Ed
”Glass Wave takes a different tack. Instead of synopsizing plots, the songs attempt to “open up new narrative possibilities,” says Wampole. “They try to retell unheard perspectives of certain characters from the books.”
Inside Higher Ed
“But with soulful singing by Christy Wampole, and music with elements from '70s progressive rock as well as jazz, "Glass Wave" is more cerebral than satirical. “
Palo Alto Weekly
“The band, which recently released its first album, keeps in line with its members' scholarly pursuits by turning books into music.”
"No, this is not your typical rock band -- its founding guitarist-songwriters are professors of literature, Dante scholars"
San Jose Mercury News
Glass Wave, has cut a fascinating literary excursion which, in contrast to other high-concept academically inspired offerings, is also just a real good listen.
The Grouse's Perch Blog
About Glass Wave
The marriage of words and music can be paradise. The members of Stanford, California-based Literary-Rock band Glass Wave understand this better than most. Comprised of three professors, a Ph.D. candidate and an upstart jazz drummer, Glass Wave seeks to bring the exuberance of rock n roll to bear on the world of literature. Taking on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Ovid, Sigmund Freud, Jane Austen and others, Glass Wave recast classic tales from new and surprising perspectives against musical arrangements that incur thoughts of groups such as Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Jerry Garcia and even The Decemberists.
Glass Wave was born of a surprise performance for one hundred or so freshmen a few years back at Stanford University by Literature Professors Robert Pogue Harrison (guitar) and Dan Edelstein (guitars/keys/vocals). Harrison and Edelstein wedded classic prose to popular classic rock arrangements, and the response was unmistakably enthusiastic. This led Harrison and Edelstein to begin writing entirely original material inspired by stories and legends from the Western tradition.
Based on early successes, Robert Harrison enlisted his brother Thomas, a UCLA professor in Literature and rock n roll and a purveyor of the melodic bass sound popularized by Paul McCartney. The two had last shared the stage in Rome, Italy in the 1970’s as part of the band Sleepy Hollow, but possess the sort of chemistry that only close relatives seem to achieve. For a vocalist, the band chose Ph.D. candidate and chanson singer Christy Wampole, whose dark, ethereal sound is reminiscent of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Starr) or perhaps Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields). To close the circle, Wizard Colin Camarillo weaves them all together in a polyrhythmic euphony spoken in the language of the drum. As an ensemble, Glass Wave weaves story songs born of literature and a blend of progressive rock, chamber music and chanson réaliste.
While Glass Wave has received a fair amount of press based on their music’s educational value, it’s always been about the music first for the band. Deeply influenced by acts such as Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, The Harrisons are musically born of the expansive progressive rock style based in jazz structures and classical compositional forms. Edelstein’s virtuosic piano compositions add a deeper dimension to the music, as does Colin Camarillo’s progressive weave of rhythms. For all of this, however, it is ultimately the voice of Christy Wampole that brings Glass Wave’s tragic rock arias to life.
Wampole is a raft of vocal contradictions. Ethereal and earthy. Sweet and acerbic. Polished and raw. Yet it is undeniable that she inhabits each voice brought forth on Glass Wave with a haunted alacrity. Wampole’s interpretations of some of the great tragic heroines of western thought bring the magic pouring out of Glass Wave. It is next to impossible to listen to Wampole’s voice, or indeed the complex musical manipulations of the band behind her without being emotionally or intellectually moved. It is this tidal pull of Glass Wave’s music that sets them apart from the pack of rock’s literati.
Glass Wave reaches into the depths of great stories, pulling out nuggets of truth in alternate voices, whether the unrequited love of Ovid’s Echo (Narcissus), Ophelia’s descent into madness (Shakespeare’s Hamlet), Elizabeth Bennet’s pride in her daughters’ marital prospects (Pride And Prejudice) or the perspective of Herman Melville’s Great White Whale (Moby Dick). It is this ability to not just re-tell a classic story in song, but tell it from an unexpected and enlightening perspective that makes Glass Wave so engaging. The band’s musical vision and literate story-telling will win over both intellectual and casual fans; and serves as a reminder that rock music can be enriching and entertaining. The roots of rock n roll are ploughed deep in the counter-cultural soil of the American psyche. What could be more subversive in an age where Justin Bieber and The Jersey Shore serve as the apex of entertainment than great music that makes you think?
Glass Wave is available for live performances on a limited basis. Academic settings are preferred, but all appreciative audiences will be considered based on availability. For booking information, please contact Glass Wave at firstname.lastname@example.org.