Golden Blonde — Gwen
(Tenzenmen 135tzm, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-09-26I had no idea what to expect when Gwen crossed my desk (so to speak). I knew nothing about Golden Blonde aside from their Australian location. The first time I listened to this music, it made little impression on me. "Interesting," I thought, "but I don't really get it." It didn't sound like electronic music, but it also wasn't really rock of any normal stripe. There were lyrics and melodies, but they weren't backed in any conventional way (chords on guitar or keyboard, bass parts, drum patterns). Under the press of other music to listen to, I moved on to other things. But I kept revisiting it every so often, trying to make sense of it, and eventually it started to come together. Golden Blonde has given us one of the most creative sets of modern music I've heard in a long time, and it's been a challenge to think of words to describe it to those who haven't heard it. Try to imagine Radiohead's strangest sonic experiments, and then take those as a base and move further out. Guitars and keyboards are present, but they don't play typical roles, often manipulated into soundscapes utterly unlike typical songs. These are mixed with field recordings and samples from widely ranging sources. The drums seem to be sometimes more or less played real-time, at other times sliced and diced along with everything else. The vocals are more straightforward, though often overdubbed into many layers. I'm also reminded of something Bob Drake might come up with, though perhaps less frenetic. Other references might include Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, and Haco. And in spite of the manifest weirdness, these pieces actually work as songs, with engaging melodies and appealing vocal delivery. Golden Blonde is obviously neither destined for the top of the pop charts, nor aiming for that, but they deserve a dedicated fanbase among the true seekers of new possibilities.
Related artist(s): Golden Blonde
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more