Jen Gloeckner’s Ambient Pop Dreams Become Reality on VINE
"I saw a picture of the sun, how do I know it's there, hanging in the air?"
Conceived along the banks of the Mississippi River, Jen Gloeckner’s music seeps through radio airwaves like a sleepy stream. The Iowa native recently recorded, produced, and released her third album, VINE, in her own bedroom–the ideal place to authentically capture her dreamy, ambient pop sound.
Gloeckner had plenty of time to daydream about the album there before setting anything down on tape. “Due to a back/hip injury, I was unable to record for over two years,” Gloeckner explains. “So when I was able to start up again, over five years had passed since my last record. It was important to me to evolve quickly artistically, in an attempt to get where I could have been if the injury had not happened.”
The hiatus-influenced artistic growth is evident in the 11-track album, released in April 2017. The album is far more experimental than its predecessors, staying true to Gloeckner’s desire to take each record in a new direction. The hypnotic single off the album, “Counting Sheep,” is a re-recording of an acoustic version written several years prior, allowing Gloeckner to reimagine the track with a refreshing twist for VINE.
The album is far more experimental than its predecessors, staying true to Gloeckner’s desire to take each record in a new direction.
Despite the private journal-like quality of the songs, collaboration is found on multiple tracks. Gloeckner called on the low, rumbling French vocals of her long-time friend Henry Padovani– the original guitarist of The Police–for her track “Row With the Flow.” The vocals of Angela Mattson of the band In the Valley Below are on the same track. John Ashton of Psychedelic Furs lends his guitar to several tracks, proving that although Gloeckner admits she’s out of touch with Dubuque’s music scene, she is not short on talented friends outside Iowa’s borders.
Gloeckner revealed to IndieLondon that music was ingrained in her when she was very young. “My mom often reminds me of a time when I was about two years old,” she recalls. “We were in church, and there was a hymn playing. As soon as the hymn stopped, I began screaming ‘MORE MUSIC!’ and Mom had to rush me out of the church so that I would not disrupt the service [laughs].”
After receiving her first left-handed guitar as a birthday gift, Gloeckner spent her teenage years writing and composing music. Her first two albums, Miles Away and Mouth of Mars are heavily rooted in the natural instrumentation of guitar and piano. With Vine, Gloeckner adds levels of synth sounds to launch her listeners into a haunting dreamscape.
When asked what inspired the change, Gloeckner admitted, “Inspiration is such a strange, fleeting thing. When a person should really be inspired by things going on around them, for some reason, that inspiration just might not be there. But then it might pop-up out of the blue from something so small, maybe just a smell, or sound, can do it.”
With the third album and the first quarter of 2017 wrapped up, Gloeckner still has her hands full moving forward. She plans to ride out the year with a lot of touring and has already begun to write a new album. The dream-pop artist leaves herself with little time to catch some Z’s.