Alwa Glebe, born in Hanover 1960, active on the music scene since the late 1970s, formed German-British New Wave band Index Sign in 1979, released two albums, studied philosophy and German literature in Hanover and Berlin, published "poems", a collection of verse, spent time living in San Francisco, Glasgow, Kiel, Hamburg and Nuernberg, lives in East Germany since 2009. First CD album "debut" released in 1999, second CD album "Will-o'-the-wisps" released in 2005, currently working on third album "Halcyon days".
Dark are the passions that matter on “Irrlichter” but the cool-clear singing of the Chanteuse Alwa Glebe develops a pull of her very own style. (Bernd Skupin, VOGUE)
Alwa Glebe possesses the voice of an apparition. And on "Irrlichter" it passes through the deep grooves and minimalist arrangements to leave the listener feeble and desolate... The nine songs on "Irrlichter" weigh in at a brief but complete 43 minutes. The duration spent with the understated and tasteful 80s imbued post rock buoying the inconsolable nature of Alwa Glebe's lament. There is no need to comprehend German to understand the melancholy seduction inherent in her songs. In fact not understanding the language might prevent you from succumbing to despair. The startling and chilling sound of the unearthly voice of Alwa Glebe is so definitive that it can't help but define "Irrlichter". A variety of sounds and tempos are subservient to Alwa Glebe's voice. Brushwork and cymbals on "Was waere wenn", jangling ringing guitar on "Irrlichter", and polyrhythmic percussion on "Nichts ist mehr, wie es war" - these sounds only provide vessels for the dire ethereal sound of Alwa's voice. Sometimes the music reinforces or provides counterpoint to her voice but never do they eclipse it. On "Komm mit mir", she playfully whisphers words over seductive rhythms pounded on echoing wood chambers .The result is a encompassing womblike structure that is then punctured by icy drone dispatches. Or the dance feel of "Wahnsinn" that is brusque and urbane which is utterly negated by the slow droll lyric delivery. The feeling of an abrupt passenger standing still in the opposite direction of traffic during rush hour, simple and confrontational. The album closer "Ich weiss" is perhaps the ultimate display of her voice. On it the hurried near mumbled delivery is so fast that it functions as vocal and percussion. The only thing that can offer a rivalry for her unique talent is herself. A perfect portrait of desolation, "Irrlichter" should be sought out by listeners whose tastes veer towards Anna Domino, Marianne Faithfull, Grace Jones or Nico. (Michael Wozny, Virus Mag, New York)
As our world grows more chaotic and depraved, the otherworldly voice of Alwa Glebe becomes all the more enchanting. And if "Debut" is less isolated and untouchable than "Irrlichter", it is never less than perfect. If anything the moments of warmth on "Debut" act as bridges into Alwa Glebe's soundscapes. Originally released in 1999, we are re-introduced to Alwa Glebe's "Debut" after the flawless "Irrlichter". "Debut" is a serene emotional travelogue, which taints you with it's ten portraits. All of them containing Alwa's icy strain of melancholy but also warmer familiar musical elements to capture the listener. Like a ghost holding a lollipop, their is well placed ear candy to give "Debut" an odd balance. Starting with the slow and mirthy "Destiny", the pattern is established. The voice and piano are accompanied by a marching beat and warm heavy bass. Familiar elements that bring the listener to the remoteness of Alwa's voice. The music bridging the distance between performer and audience. The music carries this pattern throughout "Debut". "Sinn", relies on a steady new wave drum machine, then leads into an almost chill out room piece. "Anfang", allows a tango introduction to weave an accordion throughout the song. It's upbeat tempo lasting until the brief piano ballad "Trauer". "Trauer", a lone piano and voice song reminiscent of Diamanda Galas, is aided by adding a trace of whimsy to the starkest track. "Erkenntnis" brings us back to the suave and spartan groove of David Sylvian. "Liebe" relies on a bell chime, that brings thoughts of snow and children's fables to our memories. "Melancholie" allows a whispher of congas to hide underneath the heavy dungeon swing of the bass line. A sliver of Ry Cooder style guitar allows the wandering "Glueck" into human but chilly deserts. "Nichts" the sorrowful acappella intro is faint and momentary, before adding shuffling beats and guitar. "Ende" a piano ballad that is isolated and desolate is also hymnlike, lending a familiarity and closure to "Debut". Their is no hiding the deep seated sorrow of Alwa Glebe's voice, but on "Debut" the familiarity of the musical elements, allows you to find a ghost inside of you. "Debut" is a temporary respite from the noisy and disorganized world. It's transportational tool is Alwa Glebe's voice, which taints the listener because it is so uncommon and unforgettable. Although there is no other albums to re-release in six months time, Alwa Glebe is scheduled to perform songs from both "Debut" and "Irrlichter" in 2007. I humbly await the respite. (Michael Wozny, Virus Mag, New York)
As can be seen from Alwa Glebe's migraine inspired work, migraine experiences can also be transformed into works of art without the artist's conscious choice to do so either on her own decision or acting on someone else's request. Moreover, her work shows that such migraine-inspired artwork can achieve other functions than expressing and communicating the experiences that occur as signs and symptoms of migraines of sufferers' reactions to the disease: as a matter of fact, all of the functions that have hitherto been attributed to good art by artists, philosophers of art and art scientiests. That is, migraine-inspired art is art.
A very poetical project, veiling plenty of philosophical ideas, not only dark, but also melancholic. Alwa Glebes superb voice opens us the gate towards an intricate, dramatic Wave Experimental universe. Even though the tracks are sung in German, sadness and emotion veil the sound, portraying desolation. It isn’t Rock, neither Metal, nor Dark Wave...solely Alwa Glebe and her music, sculpturing an inward message that transcends over the solitary, unkown and depressing world. (Doru Atomei, Kogaionon Underground Magazine, Romania)
Alwa is a legendary figure for the New Wave scene, especially for the fact that, back in 1979, she initiated INDEX SIGN project, releasing two albums at No Fun Label; moreover, her band noined a tour with Simple Minds, and hold on collaborations with several musical projects from Germany, Scotland or US. At the beginning of the 90’s, she decided to focus on her solo career, and thus this very debut came to life, in 1998. The ones from Cuptose decided to re-release it now, and so the ten tracks are slightly different from the previous. It might be more dramatic and solemn, as the piano plays the main role and communicates in a sad dimension with Alwa’s poetical voice. At least "Im Schmerz" track turned me into pieces! Another dimension, a peculiar music, a realm of itself...distinctive! (Doru Atomei, Kogaionon Underground Magazine, Romania)
Debut sounds like a dark journey into a morbid-fragil Cabaret, appealing like surreal dramatics.(Kym Gnuch, SONIC SEDUCER Music Magazine)