Earlier this week Calgary magazine Fast Forward Weekly posted a great conversation between How To Dress Well and CFCF in which the two artists discussed at length their different musical approaches: CFCF’s controlled composition and How To Dress Well’s unfettered emoting. It’s absolutely worth a read and it’s pertinent to the appeal of Gwilym Gold. The London singer, producer and keyboardist embodies those two opposite qualities: a sense of control and a wildness.
It’s evident in his musical trajectory to date. Having spent the twilight years of the 00s signed to XL Recordings as ringleader of synth-pop band Golden Silvers, he threw the brakes on their not-to-be-sniffed-at success to go solo at the turn of the decade. His musical aspirations led him into arguably more interesting, though less marketable at that time, territory. His solo music exposed an untamed side: gone was the chirpy frontman, replaced by an artist exposing his flaws and desires with equal abandon to make music that cut deeper; Lust For Sale being a perfect case in point.
It characterises his approach to the nuts and bolts of modern music making and listening. Gold has rejected the traditional release, instead inventing a new format called Bronze for his music that he unveiled early last year. Gold’s Bronze player is, to all intents and purposes, an app that contains all the composite parts of his songs. Every play elicits a different “performance” of each song, so no two listening experiences are ever the same. An algorithm ensures certain melodic elements are retained so the bones, and soul, of each song remains in tact.
And it’s also in boundless evidence on tender new song Faithless Arms, which Gold recently showcased at Boiler Room. That wildness manifests in his lyrical unpicking of humanity’s fallibility and fragility and in his emotionally present vocals; his falsetto cracks at points in this live performance yet never fails to reach the heart. In fact, it’s in that willingness to be vulnerable that Gold’s strength lies. On the flip, the gentle keys and beats of Faithless Arms provide a carefully restrained landscape for Gold’s earnest reaching. There’s such an innocence, grace and humility to to this performance, and to his vision, that makes keeping the faith in Gwilym Gold as easy as breathing.