Gilded operates around the intersections of melody and texture, movement and pause. The project brings together the similar but distinct musical directions of experimental musicians Matt Rösner and Adam Trainer, forging a new approach to composition and sound creation that is based as much around rhythm and repetition as it is around drone and abstraction.
A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skilful Sailor
Following on from the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Terrane and its accompanying national tour, Gilded’s new EP A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skilful Sailor brings together three previously unreleased and essential new tracks. ‘38 Degrees (Live at The Bird)’ is a beautiful live improvised guitar-based work, rich in textural details, contrasting markedly with the more piano-focused pieces on Terrane. Shoeb Ahmad (of Canberra outfit Spartak) remixes 2012 single ‘Cluttered Room’, dissecting the bassline, banjo and melodica and tethering them to an itchy breakbeat, surrounding the mix with an otherworldly vocal. Hidden Shoal’s very own perth also take on ‘Cluttered Room’ in their own inimitable style, creating an ebbing electro-acoustic micro-environment set adrift in clouds of reverb.
Gilded brings together the similar but distinct musical directions of West Australian experimental musicians Matt Rösner and Adam Trainer, forging a new approach to composition and sound creation that is based as much around rhythm and repetition as it is around drone and abstraction. The title of Gilded’s debut album Terrane comes from a geological formation that has become dislocated from its original position and sutured onto a new landscape. It retains its own distinctive form and contrasts against those around it, whilst also finding a new place, a new home. The compositions that make up this record strike at the heart of how it feels to be in a period of transition, of watching a subtle change, a shift in texture. There are moments of quietude and reflection – held together by the austere and alternately punctuated by shifts toward the uplifting and revelatory. Terrane deftly operates around the intersections of melody and texture, movement and pause.
Gilded is a new musical project featuring West Australian experimental musicians Matt Rösner and Adam Trainer. Matt Rösner is arguably one of Western Australia’s most renowned experimental musicians. Based in Myalup in the South West, Matt has released music on labels as diverse as Room40, 12K, Apestaartje, Meupe and Miatera, with a musical focus on guitar and field recordings. Adam Trainer was a founding member of Perth post-rock outfit Radarmaker, and has also played in experimental projects such as Polaroid Ghost and the Ghost of 29 Megacycles. In solo guise he has released music on labels such as hellosQuare, New Weird Australia, Phantom Channel and Feral Media. Adam’s solo work has sought to locate textural nuance alongside dislocated melody.
The title of Gilded’s debut album Terrane comes from a geological formation that has become dislocated from its original position and sutured onto a new landscape. It retains its own distinctive form and contrasts against those around it, whilst also finding a new place, a new home. The album was conceived during two consecutive autumns in Western Australia. The compositions that make up this record strike at the heart of how it feels to be in a period of transition, of watching a subtle change, a shift in texture. There are moments of quietude and reflection held together by the austere and alternately punctuated by shifts toward the uplifting and revelatory. One thing is certain: change is inevitable. We leave traces and will not return.
The inception of the record occurred in March 2010, with the recording of a 50-minute piano improvisation in a room overlooking Perth’s skyline. The piano recording sat on the shelf for 12 months: a period of contemplation. It would later become the backbone of five of the nine tracks on the record. Convening in autumn 2011 in Matt’s home studio at Myalup Beach, layers of instrumental melodies, percussion, vocals and field recordings were set against the original piano sketches, turning what was once improvised into a structured cinematic whole. The sessions in Myalup also gave rise to four new works inspired by the surroundings, and complementing the record’s textural theme. These new pieces often contrasted the unbound structure of the original compositions with rhythm and repetition. They brought a sense of focus and precision to the record’s preoccupation with texture, and directed its melodic tendencies towards more structured and restrained forms. The resulting record is one of contrasts the liquidity of thought against the permanence of physicality, changing landscapes against the constancy of creative purpose.
Hidden Shoal is excited to end the celebration of its 10th year of existence with the new compilation album Eat Your Friends, comprising remixes and covers of Hidden Shoal artists, by Hidden Shoal artists. This freely downloadable album not only showcases the wealth of original music released through Hidden Shoal, but also the creative ingenuity and deft musical touch of the remixers and cover artists.
From searing solar-flared adaptations to delicately reconstructed covers, deep space jam reworkings, and shimmering ambient tapestries, Eat Your Friends reimagines the Hidden Shoal discography in new and beautiful ways, playing to all the strengths of the roster’s dizzying array of talent.
Includes remixes and covers by: Antonymes, Arc Lab, Glanko, Wayne Harriss, Liminal Drifter, Makee, Chloe March, Markus Mehr, Erik Nilsson, REW<<, Slow Dancing Society, Tin Manzano, Willem Gator, and Zealous Chang of music by: Arc Lab, Brother Earth, Cheekbone, City of Satellites, Medard Fischer, Gilded, Glanko & Daniel Bailey, Kryshe, Memorybell, Erik Nilsson, perth, Slow Dancing Society, Tangled Star, Umpire, and Zealous Chang.
Eat Your Friends is available now as a free download via Bandcamp and is also streamable via SoundCloud. Listen and then throw yourself into the wormhole as you explore the originals and more work by the remixers and cover artists. For all the filmmakers, games designers and others in need of engaging music, don’t forget that all tracks in our catalogue are available for licensing (film, tv, games, compilations etc).
Hidden Shoal is extremely excited to be celebrating its 10th birthday this month. It’s hard to believe that back in May 2006, Perth-based musicians Cam Merton, Stuart Medley and Malcolm Riddoch began Hidden Shoal Recordings as a means to put out releases by local artists. Tim Clarke, based in Melbourne, joined the team in 2007. Hidden Shoal has since gone on to become a much-loved independent label and publisher, releasing over 120 albums from a diverse range of international artists and licensing music from its catalogue across film, tv, web and compilation.
Stay tuned for special anniversary announcements in the coming months!
Hot on the heels of Markus Mehr‘s inclusion in Cafe del Mar‘s Sunscapes, we’re excited to announce another two Hidden Shoal artists will feature in the new Cafe del Mar compilation Piano Works. The new album features the Gilded track ‘Tyne’ from their album Terrane along with Antonymes‘ ‘A Feeling of Being Closer’, the re-working of the Slow Dancing Society track ‘By Your Side’, taken from the EP We Don’t Look Back For Very Long.
Piano Works will see release on the 31st of November 2015 and can be purchased via iTunes and the usual digital outlets. The album trailer is also available for streaming now on YouTube.
We’re excited to announce the release of Long Range Transmissions, the first in a new series of themed, freely downloadable compilations. Long Range Transmissions showcases the ambient and neo-classical side of the Hidden Shoal catalogue, bringing together beautiful tracks from artists as diverse as Robert Pollard collaborator Todd Tobias, British chamber-pop songwriter Chloe March, and American ambient nostalgist Slow Dancing Society. From the delicate piano of Antonymes, Kryshe, Gilded and Medard Fischer, and the celestial experimentalism of Elisa Luu, Markus Mehr and Cheekbone, to the expansive guitarscapes of My Majestic Star, Erik Nilsson and Sleeping Me, Long Range Transmissions is an essential introduction to just one of the many facets of the Hidden Shoal label and licensing catalogue.
The albums is freely downloadable via BandCamp and can also be streamed at SoundCloud and MixCloud. The album also features gorgeous artwork by Gabrielle Harcourt, with the Bandcamp download coming with a bundled PDF booklet.
Hidden Shoal is proud to announce the release of the new EP Deconstruction Manual featuring remixes of Hidden Shoal artists by Murdoch University Sound students. The EP is available as a free download via Hidden Shoal’s Bandcamp. Download the full press release here.
On Deconstruction Manual, three students of Perth’s Murdoch University have taken the work of Hidden Shoal artists and subjected it to deconstruction, manipulation and glorious reinterpretation. The project is an ongoing collaboration between Hidden Shoal and the Murdoch University Sound Program, and the three remixes collected on this EP represent some of the diverse, innovative work produced by students of the course. Dr Simon Order, Chair of the Murdoch Sound Program, says of the project “Remix is such a powerful activity which fires up the imagination. These fabulous tracks bear witness to the creative energy of Murdoch Sound students.”
Skybreaker’s remix of Slow Dancing Society’s ‘I’ll Leave A Light On’ throws the original into an industrial thresher, transforming its calming piano and nylon-string guitar into a juddering nightmare of synths and snarl. Karl Ockelford’s ‘Greylands’ renders source audio from Antonymes, Boxharp, Gilded and Salli Lunn into an expansive, glowering horizon of drones, strings and distortion. Finally, Lövmark’s reworking of Antonymes’ ‘Doubt’ immerses Jan Van Den Broek’s monologue within patient, melodically rich minimal electronica.
Skybreaker is the moniker of Hadyn Lander, a versatile multi-instrumentalist and game designer whose influences range wildly from ’60s jazz-rock to modern electronica. Karl Ockelford is a musician and visual artist who has been working in and around the Perth experimental music scene for the past 15 years as part of Sub Ordnance and Abe Sada, and also releases music under the moniker Reluctant Carnivore. Lövmark is an electronic music producer hailing from Northern Sweden, now based in Fremantle, whose influences range from heavy metal to down-tempo bass music.
The latest edition of the wonderful Textura magazine has featured downloads from Gilded and perth from their new remix releases along with Kramies‘ new music video. Check it out along with a swathe of wonderful reviews and features here.Gilded – ‘Cluttered Room (Shoeb Spartak’s Thriftstore Mix)’
Hidden Shoal is excited to bring you A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skilful Sailor, the new EP by Australian experimental/ambient duo Gilded. Following on from the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Terrane and its accompanying national tour, Gilded’s new EP A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skilful Sailor brings together three previously unreleased and essential new tracks.
‘38 Degrees (Live at The Bird)’ is a beautiful live improvised guitar-based work, rich in textural details, contrasting markedly with the more piano-focused pieces on Terrane. Shoeb Ahmad (of Canberra outfit Spartak) remixes 2012 single ‘Cluttered Room’, dissecting the bassline, banjo and melodica and tethering them to an itchy breakbeat, surrounding the mix with an otherworldly vocal. Hidden Shoal’s very own perth also take on ‘Cluttered Room’ in their own inimitable style, creating an ebbing electro-acoustic micro-environment set adrift in clouds of reverb.
A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skilful Sailor is available for free download from the Hidden Shoal Store and can be streamed over at SoundCloud. Be sure to check out the wonderful work of Shoeb Ahmad/Spartak and perth while you’re at it.
Fantastic news for Perth experimental sound sculptors Gilded as they have had not one, but two of their tracks nominated for a WAMI Song of the Year Award in the experimental category. The two nominated tracks are ‘Velar’ and ‘Road Movie’, taken off their stunning debut Terrane. Check out more details over at WAM.
Besides releasing beautiful music, the little elves behind the scenes here at Hidden Shoal are busily working to get label tracks placed in film and tv. Our latest coup sees 9 tracks from the Hidden Shoal catalogue appear on the soundtrack to the US doco 30 Days in May. The film chronicles the days surrounding world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather’s 2012 incarceration with tracks from Hidden Shoal artists Antonymes, Gilded, Slow Dancing Society and Wes Willenbring featuring throughout. The film has been picked up by Showtime in the US and a number of European networks as well.
Check out a clip from 30 Days in May featuring the Wes Willenbring track ‘Lost Illusions’.
It’s that time of year when certain folks are making a list and checking it twice (let me have that one). The writers over at Fluid Radio are publishing some very fine end of year lists, with Gilded’s Terrane making John Boursnell’s Top Ten and Markus Mehr’s In making Charles Sage Top Ten. Congrats to Markus, Matt and Adam and much thanks to Fluid Radio for all their support of new innovative music.Gilded – Terrane Album Teaser Markus Mehr – IN Album Teaser
“Over almost a decade, Hidden Shoal records developed a reputation as a consistently innovative and experimental music label, giving to us music of remarkable qualities whether it was the instrumental excursions of Gilded, the blissed-out indie of My Majestic Star, the electronica of Marcus Mehr, the alt.folk stylings of Kramies – the HSR list of significant talents was a lengthy one. I say was, as in 2014 or thereabouts, the Hidden Shoal label underwent a reorganisation of sorts, and it began to seem that one of the more influential Australian record labels of the recent past was itself going into hiding. Perhaps so, although only to return refreshed, renewed, invigorated and with its varying artistic visions intact – the Eat Your Friends compilation proves that the Hidden Shoal label is properly with us again.
One thing I’ve found when reviewing compilations is that not infrequently, when I put them into my music players, the tracks separate instead of remaining in their album folder, and that has happened with my copy of Eat Your Friends, encouraging me to view each of the tracks as a single release rather than view the album itself as a cohesive whole. Then there’s the fact that only some of its contributors are already known to me and so, ditching some of my preconceptions about what it’s going to sound like, I began listening to the 11 tracks in a random sequence, and prepared for the unexpected.
Firstly, there’s singer/songwriter Erik Nilsson’s “Moksha Can Wait”, a song which electronic composer Marcus Mehr has taken and adapted to his subtly developed production sound, a track that begins almost inaudibly and builds to a staggering crescendo of soaring, roaring electronic sound and with Nilsson’s guitar and piano providing a counterpoint to Mehr’s swirling atmospherics. The ambient chill of City Of Satellites is given an added gloss by Tim Manzano, although I’m not so sure what he’s actually done with the track – it does sound a lot like the City Of Satellites I know from their Machine Is My Animal album, although as the track progresses and the rhythm and bass begin to disintegrate into a dubby conclusion it seems more apparent where Manzano has left his mark. Arc Lab’s “Through The Burning Glass” is remixed by Glanko, beginning with a club-level bassline before levelling into a noir tinged synth epic. And just when you thought the tracks on Eat Your Friends were entirely instrumentals, Rew perform a cover version of Umpire’s “Green Light District” and they do it with a vocal, alongside the strings and crashing cymbals and haltingly uncertain rhythms, a highlight of an album each of whose tracks is in one or another way remarkable.”
“I am an unabashed Hidden Shoal fan. The Australian label has been pumping out releases of lush, cinematic aspirations of ambient and neo-classical artists for a better part of it’s existence that, at times, is overcome by its eclectic output ranging from conspiracy-punks to 90’s slowcore revivalists to every deriviation of weirdos (Australian and otherwise) in between. Long Distance Transmissions, however, is a surprisingly cohesive collection of sprawling ambient, electro-acoustic, post-classical and just about ever derivation (Australian and otherwise) of lushly produced, slightly melancholic, wordless music in between. Highlights include Markus Mehr’s Tim Hecker-meets-Heinz Riegler meditative distorted synth composition “Hubble, the chopped and glitched electro-acoustic number by Kryshe, the minor key minimalist techno of Cheekbone and the emotional heft of the 80’s nostalgia of Slow Dancing Society’s bubbling arpeggios and soundtrack-worthy dynamics. It makes sense that Hidden Shoal also exists as a licensing company, many of these compositions, if not already, seem to soundtrack some deeply resonant scenes in films (never made).”
“Happened across this as we were turning it in for the night, a new name your price downloadable compilation by Australia’s finest purveyors of elegantly drawn dream pop Hidden Shoals. Entitled ‘long range transmissions’ it features a gathering of talents, some familiar – Antonymes, Markus Mehr, Slow Dancing Society et al along with some not so such as gilded and cheekbone. However what attracted us apart from the obvious as ever high quality seductive ambience tonalities literally peeling from the grooves was a delightful little thing from Elisa Luu entitled ‘chromatic sigh’. A breathlessly beautiful slice of porcelain noir classicism, an all too brief heavenly visitation, the slow shift into focus of the sound of a celestial calling emerging into the open to bathe all in the tingling shower of warming radiance, an out of body astral gliding odyssey which for a moment utterly transfixes its delicately balanced and perfectly poised gaze to fix and fill you with ethereal enchantment. And so to something familiar, regular visitors to these pages will be all too aware of our affection for Chloe March who here with ‘old tree, mon coeur’ doesn’t disappoint in the slightest and into the bargain offers up this sweetly mesmerising rustic ghost light, a fairy dust sprayed dream draped lost in the moment beguiling bouquet that shyly treads in the kind of amorphous star twinkled worlds of Musetta albeit as though aided and abetted by a soiree of siren sighs from a chill tripped Laetita and Mary from Stereolab.”
“You might recognise Hidden Shoal from our piece on Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, the latest album from REW<<. The label has recently released Long Range Transmissions, the first in a series of themed compilations which showcase the ambient/neo-classical acts in their catalogue. It’s the perfect place to introduce yourself to a diverse and interesting collective of musicians.
While the collection comes from a particular genre, there is still room for much variation across the thirteen tracks. Antonymes and Kryshe favour fragile, graceful piano, Cheekbone push a sci-fi inspired electronica and Chloe March creates a lush chamber pop. Todd Tobias evokes a mixture of shimmering bliss and nostalgia, his track ‘Nan Madol’ playing like a super-cinematic missing number from the Twin Peaks soundtrack, while Stockholm’s Erik Nilsson’s gently tropical ‘Drawing/Dreaming’ feels like watching the sun set into the sea on the last night of your holiday. Other highlights include the goosebump-inducing melodrama of Slow Dancing Society’s ‘Pull’, Elisa Luu’s ethereal ‘Chromatic Sigh’ and the aching melancholy of closing track ‘Empty Cradles’ by Sleeping Me.”
“Necks fans newly bereaved of their titanic attention spans will gleefully gravitate to this duo’s carefully crafted set of glazed and glacial miniatures, emigrants of Australian shores farthest from Sydney’s celebrated slow jazz trio. Nourished on a diet of Kranky, Rachels and their ilk, and mastered by arch-abstractionist Taylor Deupree, Gilded’s Terrane slowly sublimates sombre scenery into a subtle, hypnotic ambience (in the Brian Eno sense) devoid of excess emotion: its virtue lies in the vagueness of background music one doesn’t just filter out, but which adds warmth to any given scene.
Everywhere to be found is patient, rhythmic gradation: the accretion of new textural layers so subtle as to be almost imperceptible; so resonant as to be hypnotic; nature’s own lullabies celebrating botanical infancy. A sense of stillness-in-motion is evident throughout: in ‘Velar’ and ‘Cluttered Room’, skittering cymbal phrases assume a respiratory regularity, grounded by dazed and distant reverb, and gently tinkling waterfalls. A relative of Harold Budd’s plangent piano playing pops up here and periodically there: soft, sombre droplets prickling the still white surface of serenity, summoning up seasonal slowdown. Sun-drenched, freshly clipped lawns or the same spot bedded down with 6am snow.
Drama takes place behind doors closed underwater: in ‘Road Movie’ we encounter Raime’s painfully paced ‘Soil & Colts’ reborn as a carefree, countryside stroll – the former’s signature screech supplanted by a blasé banjo strum. The landscape remains but urgency increases as a cantering piano enters in ‘Tyne’, which subsides into a vinyl crackle as the bucolic drift resumes. Tightly bowed, clipped strings sing of serrated leaves of grass blown by gliding strings, finally submitting to a sedative haze heard through a morphine daze; subatomic magnifications of the millions of vibrations that constitute a single draw of the bow: a manner almost acousmatic in its interiority.
Gilded’s taste for variety is subtle but immanent: every track foregrounds a specific motif, pearling it patiently within the oyster. No attempt is made to stimulate the listener: attention is expected but not demanded, though it is certainly rewarded. Alternating appetites for activity and passivity provide the overarching structure.
If existence arises from the tension between opposing forces, then Terrane’s terrain is the unconscious realm behind the eyelids as they open and close. Even the album cover – a dense stratum of branches – gauzy and vascular: a detail of the network that delivers the essence of life itself. The image draws breath as freely as the music, driven but unperturbed by conscious motives. Tracks are generically titled after generalised objects and locations; the music illustrates natural processes common to both the body’s inner world and that of the organic world it inhabits. If you’ve nowhere you particularly need to be, then Gilded will show you there.”
“The internet is a wonderful thing. I had no idea that western Australia had a rich experimental music scene. With my northern European prejudice I probably assumed that all too brief and rather damp summers were a necessary precondition for musical innovation. But thanks to the web, my prejudices can be confounded.
Gilded are Matt Rösner and Adam Trainer, both notable composers and performers in the aforementioned scene around Perth, who collaborate together on this album for the first time. Terrane was mostly recorded in the beach community at Myalup, although some of the piano which features strongly throughout the record was recorded in Perth in a room specifically conditioned to provide the optimum environment for the instrument.patient progressions evoke images of wild and remote places
When thinking of great experimental music (if you were a child of the Seventies and Eighties at least) I immediately think of Mixmaster Morris or Aphex Twin’s electronica or Philip Glass and Steve Reichat the more orchestral end of the spectrum. Gilded’s music pitches somewhere in the middle, and manages to create soundscapes that, while they are certainly minimal in approach, are nonetheless powerfully evocative. I use the term soundscapes specifically here, as the album title (a geological term apparently*) is highly appropriate because what their music communicates is determinedly about places and environments. The restrained use of repetitions, layered with gradual, patient progressions evoke images of wild and remote places.
The rich texture of their music is partly a function of the care taken in their arrangements, as well as the performance and recording. What adds so much to these compositions is the incredible resonance that they elicit from their acoustic instruments. While piano and guitar feature significantly, the instrumentation is also diverse enough to provide a highly original sound palette. Creating these combinations must have taken immense care and great deal of experimentation, and the overall effect works so well as to produce music that invites a deeply immersive experience.movement is not required and its simplicity is part of its appeal
The eclectic instrumentation is augmented by the use of field recordings. These serve to further strengthen the extent to which the pieces transport you to distant landscapes. Their application is subtle, for example adding a sense of heat shimmer to the scenes that Trainer and Rösner paint with their instruments.
As the tracks build, you may find yourself yearning for more progression in the compositions. The music moves you – but perhaps you want it to move further. However, this is the point of Terrane; it is music which describes places and panoramas – movement is not required and its simplicity is part of its appeal. Fundamentally, what makes this record stand out is the beauty that is achieved through its diverse arrangements. This gives it a richness which encourages listeners to explore the layers and textures, which pleases both aesthetically and through its invention. This music is original and well made, the like of which I have not heard before. – Jim Bennett”
“The suffused and vaguely crepuscolar opening on gentle piano strokes and thin chinks of the initial “Velar” and the charmingly rustic twining of string saw, warm deep tones, accordion and banjo flowerheads, a dainty percussive nixer on the following “String And Stone” embarks listeners on the musical universe of Terrane, whose name comes from a geological term to describe a fragment of a tectonic plate which get “sutured” (normally after a process of subduction) to crust lying on another plate, by Gilded, a West Australian duo by experimental musicians Matt Roesner, whose sonic researches, focused on field recordings and guitars, partially flowed into labels like Room40, Apestaartje, 12K, Meupe and Miatera, and Adam Trainer, one of the founding member of Perth-based post-rock outfit Radarmaker. Ideally lying on the boundaries between the styles by Cinematic Orchestra, Greg Haines, Piano Interrupted and similar august satellites orbiting around conglomerates of minimalism, visionary lyricism and ambient, the sound they carefully mould on this lovely release constantly oscillates between melodic suspensions, emotional tension and pastoral idylls, which sounds like rushing from heaven-given creative sparks (“Dew Cloud”, “Straight Crest”, “Tyne”), earthly dampers (“Road Movie”, “Expanded Contract”), bucolic effusions (“Cluttered Room”, “Moth Food”), which evokes a constant feasting by tender sensibilities with contingent halts. This is undoubtedly a recommendable listening for dreamlike personal odysseys. ”
“Two old hands, post-rock deconstructor Adam Trainer and ambient guru Matt Rosner, have come together to form something new as Gilded. Whilst clearly not setting out to reinvent the wheel of experimental music, the merging of their two sympathetic skill sets – Trainer’s versatility as a musician and Rosner’s perceptive ear for texture and detail – have staked out a previously undefined sector of the map.
Trainer has described this record as having a “summer” vibe to it, and many parts of it certainly radiate warmth; an atmosphere augmented by closely-observed field recordings of insects clicking in the pulsating heat. The science of applying such supplementary sound effects is done in a delicate way that accents, rather than distracts from, the vital essence of the many carefully arranged instruments. Although, on Expand/Contract the groaning of the steel beams of a warehouse structure warping as the temperature changes arguably take centre stage over the chiming piano and vapour trail of barely-there vocals.
As complex as the final product is, there’s never any clutter. The value of silence, or at least near silence, is not forgotten as each element is allowed ample space in which to breathe. As a whole, Terrane is finely balanced and reveals something new with each listen. What’s most impressive though, is that despite the long gestation and complex configuration of elements, the music always sounds fresh. Recorded over two summers, one might have expected the odd, overly studio-processed flat spot. That never happens on a journey into sound that ripples with life at every turn.”
I’m no geologist, but thanks to a bit of search-engine scholarship I can now tell you that a “terrane” is a land-mass phenomenon where a tectonic plate breaks off and fuses with another, leaving a fault-line where the two bits of Earth-crust have “sutured.” The metaphorical inference to be made here – that collaborators Adam Trainer and Matt Rosner’s respective approaches/oeuvres are comparable to tectonic plates, monolithic, timeless, and joined at last – might seem a touch self-important if not for a few facts. (A) Adam and Matt are well-known to be top dudes, tirelessly honing their crafts for years with no time for chest-puffing; (B) their approaches/oevres actually DO feel somehow monolithic and timeless, detached from the mundanities of modern life, alluding to something more cosmic or ancient, and © well, it’s just a darned album title isn’t it, and it would be a bit rough to draw assumptions about the fellers’ personalities thereupon.
For a more rigorous glimpse into the inner workings of the Trainer/Rosner collective consciousness, cue up their debut long-player. You will be handsomely rewarded. “Terrane” is one of the most simultaneously accessible and uncompromising experimental records to come out of Perth – perhaps ever. The pair’s shared penchant for slow-burn textural development, distant gestural melody and ambient drifting is adapted and forged into a record that is remarkably concise and consistently engaging – you might even call it muscular.
Opener “Velar” is all glassy piano, sparse percussion and ghostly bow strokes, but immediately “String and Stone” reworks similar textures into decisive 4/4, a quiet, sanguine momentum – dance music for sunbeams. “Tyne,” similarly, relies on repetition, and nods towards Trainer’s pop and post-rock roots. Other tracks – like “Road Movie,” “Straight Crest,” and “Moth Food,” allow more for these textures to float, unbridled by tempo, foregrounding the freeform interplay of campfire crackle and dawntime drone. Yet never does the record drag; my indie-pop-adoring teenage sister likes it; no less is it bound to please the most avid aficionados of experimental soundscaping. Gilded have achieved that special alchemy – transcending “genre” with a record that will appeal to many, sacrificing none of its unique, esoteric quality in the process.
Piano. Bowed metal. Percussion. Repetition. Space. Texture…
These are our basic ingredients; our oil, salt, pepper, spice, flour, water. We can draw on one tradition, or another – personal, geographic, familial. Our tools, our skillets, griddles, pans; these are our experience, our context, and our time. Whatever the combination, we try to make something.
Trying to work out what that is, why that record is good, why this one is a disappointment, why this one we will play again and again, depends on so much, can be such a personal decision, that in the end, the best thing to do is listen as much as possible – to the actual music, the disc in your hand, the ringing in your ears.
Floor tom. Banjo. Guitar. Detail. Depth. Quiet.
There is so much music out there. So much being made from these simple elements – what separates the merely pleasant from the stunning? The wallpaper from the focus point? This album, the first as Gilded from Matt Rösner and Adam Trainer is beautifully produced, mixed, balanced, mastered – one of the best I’ve heard this year – every detail shines through clearly. But this isn’t the reason I’ll return to it again and again. It cleverly juxtaposes the abstract curl of noise and bowed scrapes against stately piano chords, but this in itself is not wholly remarkable.
It is the clear eyed way these elements are put to work – to the service of restraint, understatement, yes, but quiet drama too – a narrative drive, a forward momentum – this is not ambient music in the Eno ‘tinting’ sense – its far too involving, far too surprising.
The unexpected entrance of hushed vocals in Expand/Contract gives the whole album shape. An arc where the gradual accumulation of texture moves from the opening tumbling piano figures to the frayed accordion drones of Moth Food, providing a suitably ear-cleaning coda, yet Terrane never goes for the easy crescendo, the mass of stacked instruments. Instead, new arrivals form part of a holding pattern of repeated gestures, the picked banjo of String and Stone simply mirroring the low cymbal and high percussive bell, dancing round a two note bass centre.
Ringing. Echoing. Noise.
The grasp of holding dynamics on display here is I think, almost unparalleled in this area – the close notes and rattles of Dew Cloud at times recall Adrian Klumpes’ excellent Be Still record, but here they are anchored to a hidden, implied rhythmic grid that ties much of these passages to process and systems based art, rather than expressionist washes.
Brevity. Rhythm. Listening.
There are worlds in here, in this record. Microscopic examinations of simple figures and patterns, that could fill whole sides; a focus and determination that wraps everything up in 45 minutes. Beautiful, simple, deep, Terrane is simply one of the best albums you’ll hear this year. Highly recommended!
Gilded’s music is available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.