I love bands like Golden Retriever. They encompass a small list of bands creating an authentic link between the organic and the inorganic. This band is composed of two people. Jonathan Sielaff plays the bass clarinet like a goddamn boss. Let’s be straight, nobody hates the sound of the bass clarinet. The devil himself told me the words “bass” and “clarinet” are illegal down where he is cause of how fucking cool this instrument is. It’s motherfucking badass. The other component to this duo is Matt Carlson. He plays the analogue synthesizer. Their other albums are also worth a listen, but this album includes a full-chamber ensemble. Shit just got real fucking interesting.
The other band I can’t help but draw a link to is The Books. Also a duo, The Books were a band composed of a cellist and guitarist/computer wizard. It’s a similar formula with one member working with a more classical based instrument and the other one fucking that sound up with a computer. Changing wood into electronics. But that’s where the similarities end. Golden Retriever creates thick luxurious landscapes. Some are relaxing as fuck. Others are creepy, scary, and off-putting like a horror movie soundtrack or a thick Lynchian nightmare. These freaky Friday songs aren’t put there for no reason. The tension they create put the listener into the right headspace for the next song. This isn’t an album composed of “the best they could come up with” mashed together like some fucked up casserole. This shit has been thought of as a concept and mood. It has intent and meaning.
Because of the odd format and arrangement, it’s difficult to know where to place Golden Retriever. The band definitely has a strong neoclassical vibe. And they know how to make a good fucking ambient tune. But I wouldn’t call it that either. This is arranged music for a chamber ensemble with electronic manipulation. I think this shit should just be called classical music, cause that’s what it fucking is. My view is Glenn Gould manipulated. If you don’t know who Glenn Gould is, I’m assuming you’ve been living in some cave, emotionally or physically, for the past hundred years. If you have, you really should check out modern dentistry and medicine. We no longer hit you in the face with a hammer, drain your blood, and give you a cocaine addiction. Shit is fucking great. Gould is basically the greatest export Canada has ever had. You can say Glenn Gould was a piano player. But he was much more than this. In his article “Forgery and Imitation in the Creative Process” (link to it here if you fucking want) he goes into talking about the microphone working like the camera in film. The mic already manipulates the fuck out of what classical music is. It’s already part electronic. So, you change the sound a bit with a computer afterwards and suddenly it’s electronic or neoclassical? Fuck that shit. Call a kettle black and an idiot dumb. And, if classical music won’t invite Golden Retriever to their little tree house, me and Gould will burn that motherfucker to the ground.