glaive Embraces the Chaos of a Swirling Mind in 'a bit of a mad one'

Photo: Tommy Pointer

glaive’s latest EP, a bit of a mad one, is a work of matured vulnerability, refining the hyperpop and alternative fusion that the young artist has cultivated with a focused perspective.

The EP opens with “even when the sun is dead, will you tell them how hard i tried,” a sonic encapsulation of glaive’s current musical state. It starts with a raw guitar and vocal, evocative in the way it bares itself naked. Slowly, the track comes to life with a glimmering landscape of instruments—synthetic ambience off to one side while warm vocal layers fill another, a steady bassline beneath it all. 

The lead single, “huh,” also helps to set the sonic landscape of the project, shimmering with delicate synth decorations and gritty industrial percussion. It’s glaive’s signature marriage of electronic grievances, grounded with raw, crass drums and machine-like sounds. “living proof (that it hurts)” is dappled with similar supernovas of industrial noise, spilling its guts in tendrils of distortion. The production on these tracks alone captures the artist’s soul-baring spectrum of emotion, but glaive’s melody writing and confessional lyrics take listeners to provocative new heights. 

“i dont really feel it anymore” explores the bittersweet release of moving on as glaive realizes that what he craved so badly was never right for him at all. The song is built around a hummed, pitched-up melody, laying a contemplative for the rest of the arrangement. His topline contrasts the simultaneously grieving and hopeful sound of the instrumental melody, pressing a determined rhythmic pace. He’s not rapping, but the lines flow freely and unrelentingly, adorned with all of the careful rhythmic intricacies and internal rhymes of spoken word. It’s the sonic representation of self-discovery in real-time, as glaive lets the song spiral through epiphanies and breakdowns as he approaches them. 

That’s a theme throughout a bit of a mad one, one of chaotic and freely charted progression of self-discovery. “hope alaska national anthem” gives listeners context for the emotional space glaive was in when writing a bit of a mad one. The EP was produced in Hope, Alaska over a week and a half period where glaive recounts being at a time when he was nervous about his music “not being not what it used to be.” We can hear this fear in the punch line of the chorus, where glaive sings, “I’ve burnt this candle at both ends.” It represents a fear of running out, whether it’s running out of creativity, time, confidence, passion, or chances. 

Another motif throughout a bit of a mad one is the biblical lens glaive employs to explore his guilt, pain, and self-reflection. “god is dead” confronts this head-on with lyrics like, “What would Jesus do? There’s blood on both my palms.” The EP ends with another religiously-tinted song, “phobie d’impulsion,” which is French for the fear of impulse. Despite the foreboding title and lyrics, the closing track wears a cloak of hopefulness, woven with glimmering acoustic guitars and an upbeat groove. The lyrics reveal the persistent struggle glaive recounts throughout the EP but leave room for optimism. 

Though glaive has continued to blossom stylistically with a bit of a mad one, the project feels like it’s settling into itself, breathing into the chaos of being an artist and person, rather than shying away from it. If you weren’t watching glaive already, now is the time to start. 

Listen to a bit of a mad one below:

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