In the London music scene, Gwilym Gold is the equivalent of the friend who hardly speaks, but often offers up gems of wisdom when he does. The London singer and producer’s solo output has so far been scarce, having so far only released one album, Tender Metal (2012), but he has already broke new musical ground in doing so. Tender Metal was released for an iPhone app called Bronze, co-developed by Gold himself, which generates a different musical interpretation of a song each time it is played, meaning the songs on the album never sound the same way twice.
The gold medal for moody ambitronica goes to London singer/pianist/producer Gwilym Gold. I think I’ve spelled that correctly…
While this was truly a feat of modern music technology, Tender Metal no doubt left people without iThings out of the Gwilym loop, with no physical release to speak of. Gwilym’s new single Muscle should solve this problem – and then some. As well as being available on Soundcloud, the song is soon to be released on vinyl, with a music video to follow.
Muscle opens with the curious bell-like ambience of a reversed piano chord, and by this point James Blake fans may already have an idea of where the song is going. Gwilym’s sound palette here is similar to that of James Blake’s in Klavierwerke – intimate piano, vocals and minimalist percussion- but his execution takes an interesting turn.
The main piano line was born out of countless hours of improvisation by Gold as part of performance piece Infinite Disparity, and this is what drives the energy in Muscle. Gwilym weaves a distilled version of this live performance through the entire song, with manipulated lines of piano and vocal harmonies undulating around it.
You’re never left with the sense that Gwilym is trying to obscure himself with studio trickery, though- in fact, the hyper-realistic piano recording gives you the feeling he’s playing this tune sitting next to you on the piano stool. This mix of sonic intimacy and abstraction makes for an absorbing experience, with Gwilym sucking you right into the midst of the sonic world he creates around his vocal and piano performance.
With almost two years having passed since his debut Tender Metal, Muscle may be the first release in a string of new music by Gold. He may be a musical man-of-few-words, but hopefully he’ll be speaking again soon.
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