Gilded – Denizen

Deep Southern low off the bay, buffeting dune shrubs and grasses. The waves shred sand off ancient limestone rocks, not seen for generations. Still summer imprints in the minds of migratory birds, long gone for winter. Inland, denizens shelter amongst salty paperbarks, waiting it out.

West Australian experimental duo Gilded return with their second album, a release nine years in the making following on from their acclaimed 2012 debut Terrane.

Gilded are Matt Rösner, best known for his solo works on 12k and Room40 and his long-running collaboration with Seaworthy, and Adam Trainer who has played in various Perth-based indie and experimental rock acts over the course of two decades.

Gilded toured their acclaimed debut Terrane in late 2012, playing across Australia to warmly receptive audiences. Returning from the tour elated, they dived immediately into the recording of a follow up, with the basis of six tracks materialising in just three days. Reconvening occasionally to mix or record new ideas, the space between each session increased, until it had been eight years. In 2020 Matt and Adam reconnected in the estuarine coastal flatlands of Australia’s South West, the region that had seen the genesis of the project almost a decade prior, and vowed to complete the album. Another short burst of recording and mixing bound the album in its final form.

The bulk of Alden was recorded in and around Rösner’s home in the small coastal town of Myalup. The geography of the region with its sand dunes, scrubby marshlands and a large evaporated salt lake has influenced the sound of the album as well as its thematics. Many of the track titles recall imagery relating to the history of the place as an agricultural hub and a sustenance camp during the great depression. Its title not only recalls Henry David Thoreau’s iconic work of isolated creativity, but is also an anagram of ‘lande’: a French word for a moor – a barren, sandy flatland bordering the sea, much like the environment that bore the album. But Alden is often far from pastoral – at times its various organic components are twisted and contorted into alien shapes and textures.

Alden builds on the sound world introduced on Terrane, alternating between repetitive organic rhythms and textural ambient passages. Gone, however is the piano that formed the basis of so much of Gilded’s debut. Here it’s replaced by vintage synthesizers, often processed into unrecognisable forms, and an array of field recordings that are arguably more present and bolder than they had been previously. Alden is a more insistent record: less plaintive, but somehow more optimistic. At times recalling the rhythmic post-rock of Fridge or Radian, at others the spacious textural ambience of 12k artists, it is nonetheless a distinctive and wholly original work and one that sits alongside Gilded’s debut whilst simultaneously forging a new direction for the duo.

Revitalised after a significant absence Gilded are excited at the prospect of creating more music in the near future. For now, Alden presents a welcome return and a fascinating new chapter.

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