August 6, 2012

Serene Velocity

I never know when to say 'drone' vs. 'noise', whether I should call something 'experimental' or 'avante garde' or 'free' - I just don't know about those words (I'm not even sure I care), but Portland duo Golden Retriever is one of my favorites operating in this world of ambiguous genres. A combo of modular synth and bass clarinet is appealing as is (two tonally-pleasing instruments), but label Thrill Jockey introduced an interesting thought in this description: "Golden Retriever create polyphonic music from monophonic instruments. The bass clarinet and the analog modular synthesizer are generally both capable of playing only one note at a time." I've been an appreciator since their 2010 self-titled CD-R on Root Strata, but I'd never considered this point until now. It's an interesting constraint to wrap your mind around while listening to Occupied with the Unspoken, which is so rich melodically while still maintaing a deeply abstract, complex quality in the arrangements and processing. All in all, this is a deeply-satisfying record - not just a great 2012 'noise' release, but a great 2012 release in general - and the best offering from Golden Retriever yet. Decoder Int'l recently promoted me to Chief Pacific NW Correspondent, and I'm looking forward to experiencing these sounds live sometime after I move to Portland at the end of the month.

Stream: Golden Retriever - Serene Velocity Occupied with the Unspoken is available now on vinyl, CD & digital.

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