You dig through the earth that impedes your progress and fall into a spacious cavern. You point your flashlight at the cave walls, illuminating perplexing imagery accompanied by blocks of writing in an unknown code or language. You attempt to shout something, but nothing escapes your mouth to break the deafening silence. Your flashlight dies. A candle is lit upon a piano in the corner, and another, until the chamber glows brilliantly. You listen . . .
The piano is an extraordinary instrument. It’s staggeringly versatile and, when utilized in a circumstantially correct way, can heighten a song from good to golden. A Paradise is the newest full-length by Gwilym Gold, a Londoner and former frontman of Golden Silvers. Gold tones down the glossy retro sounds of his previous group, and surrounds himself with brilliant collaborators to bring his melancholic, piano-led art-pop to life.
These entrancingly sparse compositions are made up of a few choice elements — Gold’s cavernous keyboards and sultry falsetto, pristine string arrangements by Nico Muhly, and a plethora of clicky IDM rhythms courtesy of Bullion, Hyetal, and Darkstar’s James Young — shaped into elegantly experimental ballads in the same vein as Radiohead’s intricate minimalism. The songs begin as mere ghosts, and grow to be melodic giants.
The calling card within Gold’s style is his utilization of a Magnetic Resonator Piano, which gives his playing an ethereal glow of sustain. The vibrant tones it produces dance with his voice and bolster the overall fullness of each mix. Melding strangeness and beauty is what Gold does most effectively, and this record is a firm, captivating testament to that. If you’re seeking grandiose, IDM-infused, piano-led balladry, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)