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
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more