Runner opens with a preacher talking over circular, tuned African percussion: "When you have real change, everybody's thing begins to change. A teacher begins to teach a new lesson. A preacher begins to preach a new sermon. And a musician often tries to capture the new thing so that we might have melody and have rhythm as we do our thing."
The contradiction there is obvious: This album is neither outlandish nor groundbreaking. Glimpse—the British DJ-producer Christopher Sperro—puts his inspirations pretty well out front. "If I Was Your Girl," for example, starts out as a stark and smoky dub-house with foggy organs before morphing, with the addition of a cut-up Janet Jackson phrase, into something that more closely resembles the kind of re-edits Mark E makes. "Things to Do in Denver" is tied to ideas bred in Detroit house of the Moodymann/Theo Parrish school, laid-back dialogue ("Hey, baby, what's good?") laid into the jazzy hi-hats and spacy, spiny synths.
The difference is that Sperro's ministrations of his source material tends to be a lot shorter, more slivery and fidgety—not as in "fidget house," thankfully, but he likes to repeat-repeat-repeat little things, letting the effect wash over you, rather than the kind of played-out-at-length mind-movies Moody likes. Glimpse's sense of space is tighter, and therefore more pop. And signifying pop without necessarily sounding it (in a chart sense) is a good way for an album to keep opening up with repeat listens, something Runner does nicely.
Another reason: Glimpse's neatness makes Runner a comfortable listen, one that neither lacks for surprise nor ever quite rushes at you. The tempos are comfortable for house: Even the bouncy "New Beginnings" seems to gallop leisurely. The track could have been on a Force Inc. comp around 2002—a good Force Inc. comp. Similarly, thanks in part to bass that glistens, glowers and glides all at the same time, "I Know It I Show It" recalls a poppier variant on Thomas Brinkmann's Soul Center material. The bluesy-jazzy singer there ("I belong to you") bends her notes so much that when Sperro cuts between an octave here or there it seems natural, somehow. The album works similarly.
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Tracklist: Glimpse - Runner 01. Walk Tall
02. If I Was Your Girl
03. Things to Do in Denver
04. Alone Again
05. New Beginnings
06. Feel OK
07. I Know I Show It
08. Enjoyable Employable
10. Train in Austria