PHOTO: PJ GLAUBERZON

PJ GLAUBERZON


PJ Glauberzon, a multi instrumentalist with a penchant for baffling narratives and breezy song structures, blends the banal with the surreal in his epic pop compositions.  PJ’s debut album Cubicle Puppets was recorded himself over the span of a year and was released on All Hands Electric in December, 2008.


SPLIT SCREENS is a project helmed by Phil Glauberzon involving spinet pianos, toy instruments and cavernous rhythms.  Hi-fi and lo-fi collide with pop shadows.  A full-length album is set to be released by All Hands Electric in 2012.


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DISCOGRAPHY:

PJ GLAUBERZON

CUBICLE PUPPETS

CD-R

$6

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CUBICLE PUPPETS is an odd affair, a meticulously crafted pop gem, written and recorded by one PJ Glauberzon.   It references an era when artists made albums as miniature worlds, a place you could visit for the better part of an hour, or as long as two sides of vinyl would allow.  The songs fit together like scenes in a movie with Glauberzon adopting the voice of a narrator, wherein he spins tales of paranoia, heartbreak and the mundanity of life's struggle.


In the first song, "Held Captive at Bombay Bazaar", a ringing guitar figure is propelled by a jungle drumbeat.  PJ sings, "I don't know where to begin?” as if we're catching him at the end, now ready to recount everything that has come before.  Melodic Byrd’s-like guitar leads weave in and out of the song helping to frame PJ's low, rattling voice.  "Chain gang bound? You're not alone. Can you still break free?", he sings.  The lyrics, though bleak, are set aloft by the charming lilt of the music, a balance that Glauberzon achieves consistently. 


PJ's talk-in-your-ear vocal style accommodates his often-asymmetrical rhyme schemes and wordy lyrics.  In "Sasquatch's Zombie Story", the lyrics illustrate just what the title suggests.  More of a spoken word piece than a song, his voice floats over the tribal-like percussion conjuring a campfire ghost tale scene.  Although he doesn't possess the most versatile of voices, he is able to bring real emotion and intensity to the portrayal of his characters.


Paranoia is a big theme for Glauberzon, whether it be the trapped animal in "Held Captive at Bombay's Bazaar", the marked man in "Trouble Out West", the candy-bar-eating-camp-counselor-turned-zombie in "Sasquatch's Zombie Story", or the dejected romantic in "Trouble at the Cinema", there is an almost Kafkaesque bent to the way he tells his stories, as if they take place in a hyperreality where the characters take cues from their own dreams.  In "Breakfast Diner Nametag", he references David Lynch's “Mulholland Drive” as the narrator returns to her previous life after waking from a "dream life where [her] demands were perfectly met". 


PJ Glauberzon isn't your typical songwriter.  Although he works within the framework of traditional forms, his songs never sound familiar.  He is both a talented multi-instrumentalist and clever songsmith.  His musical tastes vary from upbeat skiffle tunes and vaudevillian pop to calypso music and bar room piano ballads, while his lyrics read like absurdist adventure stories riddled with shady characters.  Conceptually, he is situated somewhere between Warren Zevon and Steely Dan, as he is fond of both irony and comedy in song, as well as musicianship and studio wizardry.  His arrangements, although seemingly elaborate, never feel dense or crowded.  Like a good composer, he knows how to build on themes but more importantly, when to leave things out.   


Cubicle Puppets ends with "Trouble at the Cinema", a melancholy piano ballad in which the narrator deconstructs his own illusions by breaking into the projection booth at the movie theatre.  PJ sings, "I've got to be completely sure it's all a lie.  I crowbar the door to make sure it's not my life."  Behind the curtain, he goes with a hope that all that he has seen is not real.


AHE-04 Cubicle Puppets CD-R
 

1. Held Captive at Bombay Bazzaar

2. Trouble Out West

3. Zero Day Warez

4. The Rites

5. Breakfast Diner Nametag

6. Trouble at Sea

7. Sasquatch's Zombie Story

8. Meets Frisbee Uptown

9. Trouble at the Cinema

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