Ethan Gold releases LP
With a cutting synthesized glare, Ethan Gold draws us into his enigmatic web of duality in Expanses (Teenage Synthstrumentals), a thirteen track collection of post-punk inspired ambient noise music that pushes sonic limits to their very brink to harness the sheer raw power of tonality. Though it doesn’t read as a concept piece, there is an anti-melodic cohesiveness that binds each track together to create a symphonic wall of sound that is as unforgiving as it is unrelenting. While this style of music is typically reserved for only the most refined of audiological palates, Expanses is nevertheless a record that even the most casual of noise enthusiasts should have no trouble connecting with and appreciating with a zealous fervor.
Following the brief into, “In Open Air At Last” grinds out the first bellowing howls of synth brutality with a delicate grandeur similar to watching a fire slowly ignite amongst burning embers. It’s the heaviest of salutations, but it’s only a taste of what Ethan Gold is capable of yielding when left to his own devices. The ominous “Departure” takes shape out of a shimmering haze, while the strutting “Concrete Sweat” defiantly adds a bit of drum machine inspired funk to the first half of Expanses. Trying to predict what lies behind every twist and turn of the album proves futile as we get lost in its eclectic structures and intricately arranged harmonies.
The contrast between the brooding synth triplets “Aqua Petal,” “Corrosion,” and the haunting “Lizards Enter the Rain Forest” would be far too complicated for anyone but Gold to have pulled off in a single space, but their inclusion together in such perfect succession just further displays how calculatedly brilliant this composer really is when he gets into the studio. Longtime fans of Gold’s work will notice his trademark reflective, almost atmospheric accent attached to every track, yet there is a decidedly different, almost neo-psychedelic flavor to Expanses than any of his previous work (the space age “On the North Sea” is an excellent example). It doesn’t compromise or interfere with the ambience though; every mesmerizing moment of Expanses is unblemished and untainted by external influences, and frankly, it’s nothing short of immaculate.
As someone who has spent most of his life in love with avant-garde music and the frequently misunderstood artists who make it, I feel a certain level of kinship with Ethan Gold. His work, and the great efforts he’s made to bring it to fruition, deserve a lifetime’s worth of praise and acclaim for their impossibly virtuosic competences, and it’s unfortunate that until now, the bulk of the mainstream music media had been skittish to embrace his eclectic, and at times abrasive, approach to pop. Expanses (Teenage Synthstrumentals) could be the album to finally garner him the widespread attention that he’s worked so hard for, and personally I couldn’t be more supportive of the notion. If you’re looking for new music that lives and breathes left of the dial, I highly recommend giving this instrumental set a listen.