Golden Silvers frontman Gwilym Gold has invented a new format.
Basically, all the music you have on your computer or record shelves is recorded as individual parts (or “stems”) – drums, vocals, bass and so on – which are then “mixed” by the artist, or someone the artist trusts, to create the piece of music you buy, download and play. A remix is a different ordering and placing of these stems, but apart from that, the track, any track, is a static object. The song is the track.
What Gwilym, and the team at StrangeLoop who he worked with on Bronze, have created is a player and a format that plays these stems in different orders, meaning that you never hear the same piece of music twice. We use the words “song” and “track” interchangably, but this is a device that pulls the two ideas apart – the music written is not the same, ever, as the music you hear. We were immediately interested in this idea, but a little cynical about the results, but from a few plays, it works very well, with Flesh Freeze
meaning that the track, instead of being a
“Can you explain a bit about the Bronze format?”
Bronze is basically a new format we created while working on my record which we built to facilitate how we wanted my new music to work…. It stemmed from the desire for the final piece not to have to exist in a static form…. But to be in some kind of motion on every play…
“How did you compose and the songs for the format?”
Initially the songs were composed in much the same way as they would have been but as we began working with the format it began to turn the process on it’s head a bit… As we realised that Bronze could bring out permutations of the songs which we had not yet imagined.. I had to really try and define the core of the songs….
“Was this process any different to your usual process?”
It was different for me in the sense that a lot of the songs were built around or rewritten around sonic ideas….
“Is the player completely random, or does it play set ‘new’ songs?”
It is neither completely random nor plays ‘set’ new songs… Every sound you hear is to some extent at the mercy of Bronze… It manipulates multiple streams of sound generating a whole in real time as you listen… No version or even section is ever ‘set’ but subject to varying degress of ‘randomness’ depending on how you farm it…..
“What came first – the songs, the process or the format?”
The idea for the format was very much born out musical ideas… Processes we were using to put arrangements and ideas together around songs became the inspiration for the idea of the format… Ideas created while working with Bronze in mind, then became inspiration for songs…. Things grew off each other….
“Can you explain how the format came to life – what technically is happening, and who did you work with on this?
After I presented the idea to Lexxx, (who is the producer I’ve worked closely with on this project) he built a prototype for Bronze… It was then taken on from there by Dr Mick Grierson and his team Strangeloop…. To describe what is technically happening would be boring and feel a bit revealing but it is essentially applying laws to multiple streams of sound simultaneously, generating a unique whole in real time as it is playing back…
“What was the inspiration for the process? You mentioned Brian Eno, any others?”
The inspiration was really just a yearning for a stronger feeling of motion within the music as it was playing…. Brian Eno was actually not really a direct inspiration for the idea… I actually delved into a lot of the things he’d done along similar lines in much more depth after the idea for Bronze had been born… The idea itself actually popped into the head quite unexpected… It wasn’t born out of some endeavour to find a new way to present my music… It actually presented itself and then we started building the music around it….
“It’s a very new idea in the tradition of indie rock, but are there any other traditions you were inspired by?”
Before I started writing songs I used to play a lot of Jazz… A lot of focus in Jazz seems to be ont the soloist when really a huge part of it is how the other musicians interact with the soloist within some kind of structure… I think that it has quite a few parralels with Bronze as in a sense the machine is generating a unique accompaniment to a song each time in a similar way a band of musicians would…
“What have been some of the most interesting results of the Bronze format?”
The thing that has struck us most is how vital music in Bronze feels when compared to multiple listens of a static bounce of the same song…..
“Bronze is both player and format, right?”
Bronze is the format which currently needs to run in a Bronze player…. Ideally Bronze files could play in existing players….
“Your music itself is very interesting – how did this come about, and what was going on for you to make this?”
Thanks…. For a period I devoted myself to learning how to write songs and closed the doors on everything else… When I started working on this project it felt like the gates had opened again and everything was flooding back through… It felt like there was a huge amount of things which had been left at the wayside which were now available…
“At the moment it’s your format – but would you like others to use it?”
Yeah definitely… We would see it as hopefully paving the way for another way of making music rather than this album been some kind of definitive article… We would love to see what other people would do with Bronze…
“If so who?”
We’ve spoken to a few friends like Micachu, Wild Beasts and The Invisible who have all expressed interest in using it at some point… It would be fascinating to see what people like Brian Eno or Aphex Twin would do with it….
“What are the future plans for Mr Gold and the Bronze Format?”
Finishing off the album as we speak…