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Golden Retriever

Portland duo Golden Retriever produce meditative, vividly expressive experimental music rooted in improvisation, and perform on a unique combination of modular synthesizers and amplified bass clarinet. After establishing their striking sound with early releases like 2012's Occupied with the Unspoken, they expanded their scope with subsequent efforts such as the fully orchestrated Rotations (2017) and their 2020 collaboration with guitarist Chuck Johnson, Rain Shadow. Golden Retriever were formed in 2008 by Portland, Oregon musicians Jonathan Sielaff and Matt Carlson. Sielaff's experimental pop act Au played on occasion with Parenthetical Girls, the dramatic indie troupe that Carlson had been working with, and the two musicians began collaborating together after exchanging solo recordings. Carlson played modular analog synthesizer and Sielaff played bass clarinet, both monophonic instruments that the duo processed and manipulated to create polyphonic drones and shifting ambient compositions. Golden Retriever began performing regularly in Portland and issued their self-titled debut CD-R with the Root Strata label in 2010. Golden Retriever 2 followed later the same year, as did the Static Rain cassette on Gift Tapes. After two more cassettes, Arda Viraf and Emergent Layer, the LP Light Cones arrived via Root Strata in 2011. A more refined and less improvisatory album appeared in the form of 2012's Occupied with the Unspoken, released this time by Thrill Jockey Records. Golden Retriever's next long-player, Seer, was recorded at a relaxed pace over the next two years in the duo's home studio and saw release in 2014. Remaining loyal to a meditative blend of seemingly spontaneous and composed music, they expanded their palette to include a chamber ensemble with strings, woodwinds, pipe organ, and percussion for 2017's Rotations, also with Thrill Jockey. The pair then worked with guitarist Chuck Johnson, producing a seamless collaboration titled Rain Shadow, which was released in 2020.
© Fred Thomas /TiVo


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