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.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 Reich at 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.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
*“…a fragment of crustal material formed on, or broken off from, one tectonic plate and accreted or “sutured” to crust lying on another plate,” says Wikipedia.