Gwilym Gold - Tender Metal

Perhaps the only downside to the album is its availability.

Since the dawn of the internet it seems that music has been locked in a constant cycle of debate about new technology and how it can shape and transform the way people consume and listen to it. This conversation has led to an explosion of music platforms in the last decade with the likes of Spotify and Soundcloud notable standouts. However, a deeper discussion goes beyond simply how people will listen to music.

The issue of what exactly will people listen to and how music could be made as technological capabilities and possibilities grow is possibly an even bigger issue. Adam Harper, in his book ’Infinite Music’, offers up numerous ideas of a new system for music consumption in the 21st century based on technological advancement, but so far a lot of these ideas have remained just that, ideas suspended in stasis waiting for someone to take them to the next level.

Gwilym Gold, former singer with Golden Silvers, could be the artist to begin that process with his fascinating debut album ‘Tender Metal’, released through the pioneering Bronze format: a programme that takes all the component parts of a piece of music and transforms them, giving a unique version of the piece every time. You can never hear the same piece twice, there are infinite possibilities.

‘Tender Metal’ was created in harness with visionary producer Lexx. The pair are admittedly not the first to try out the concept of generative music but they are the first to attempt to use it within the context of a traditional album. There are clearly defined songs here, rooted in melody and harmony; ‘Tender Metal’ is certainly not an album of bloodless impenetrable experimentation. Essentially what you always hear is beautifully textured and nuanced electronic music.

‘Everything Is Beautiful’ is a wonderful case in point. Gold’s warm crooning voice provides the basis for beats to hop and skip around it with synthesiser flourishes giving added texture. Even better was the backward vocal version that followed three listens later.

The differences in the music are sometimes subtle and sometimes vast. The one constant is that every version is deeply compelling. There is a beguiling quality to the music here quite unlike listening to a conventional album. Despite the influence of electronics and technology, there is a strong heart and soul to this music - a piece like ‘Limbless’ is essentially a gospel song, an example of traditional forms meeting pioneering new frontiers.

The Bronze format forces you to pay attention to every single sound and treasure every moment. It is not a record for a quick fix or the shuffle generation. Perhaps the only downside to the album is its availability: for the moment, it is only available as an app on iTunes.

Tags: Gwilym Gold, Reviews, Album Reviews

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