New Brookland Tavern Presents:
122 State St.
West Columbia, SC, 29169
On a return trip from South by Southwest, the three brothers who make up Pontiak conceived of recording an expressionistic record. Something unlike anything they had tried before. They imagined it as a color project, painted through music, favoring the traditional form of the song to explore texture and color. The album was an ambitious undertaking and would require deconstructing and then rebuilding their studio in order to be able to record it the way they envisioned it.
The first step was to find a new mixing board. They found a Soundcraft 6000 24 track analog mixing board for sale on an exotic animal compound in Arkansas. To their surprise it was tucked away in a studio next to giant Moog synthesizers and had been used to record Herbie Hancock. Board in hand, they returned home and began rebuilding their studio to capture both the band's heavier sound and the melodic nuances they're becoming known for. They focused on the acoustic properties of the space, paying great attention to the subtlety of the room. After a detour to the Austin Psych Fest that involved tornadoes and chainsaws, recording began immediately.
Recorded at their farm studio in the heart of Virginia, Van, Lain, and Jennings rotated between their respective instruments and engineering duties. They treated the recording equipment as another instrument, placing just as much importance on the sound leaving the amps and drum skins as the sound written on the tape. If it wasn't as colorful and tangible throughout the entire songwriting process it was unacceptable. While previous Pontiak albums had been approached more loosely as snapshots of a specific time, focusing on the current songs, and their current energy, Echo Ono is different. It was conceived of as an album. Instead of recording hours and hours of songs and then fitting the best pieces together, careful attention was paid to the narrative of the album and the structure of the songs as well as how each directed that narrative. What was left to chance was what would happen when the band pushed these structures to the extreme in performance and volume. The band used several different amps to test these boundaries: a 1969 Fender Dual Showman Reverb, a 1973 Sunn Model-T, a 1969 Sunn 200s, a 1975 Fender Bassman 100, a Vox AC30, and for effect an Echoplex tape delay. Lain used two drum sets: a 1946 mahogany Slingerland Radio King set with a matching solid maple snare, and a 1967 maple Ludwig kit. No distortion or overdrive pedals were used. If an amp started to act unpredictably, they turned it up. If a speaker started rattling, they pushed it.
As the summer began to wind down and the album took shape, it became clear that they had realized their love of texture and color that loud music produces. Music so loud it produces physical vibrations in your chest. Echo Ono felt like a complete whole, as well as their most concise and direct album to date. It was like walking to the top of a hill in a field and watching the sky expand, a vision fully realized.
The members of Golden Void have been connected musically off and on since they were teenagers. After playing in various bands together and apart throughout high school and the intervening years, Isaiah Mitchell (guitar/vocals, also of Earthless), Aaron Morgan (bass), and Justin Pinkerton (drums) coalesced as Golden Void after Mitchell's move to the Bay Area in 2009. When the group realized they needed a keyboard player, the addition of Camilla Saufly-Mitchell seemed only natural.
Listening to their self-titled debut album, the high level of musical kindredship that only comes from playing music together during those formative years is instantly apparent. In an age of the internet's infinite mirror that rewards pointless novelty rather than substance, Golden Void has succeeded in creating a record that exists beyond bloggable tropes of the present and expands upon the traditions of the past.
Golden Void explores the dichotomy of destruction and devotion. On the galloping opener "Art of Invading," Mitchell describes the destructive acts of the "invader," over raw, fuzzy guitars and Pinkerton's steady 6/8 groove. On closer "Atlantis" Mitchell sings about rising seas cleansing the earth of people and culture while displaying some of the most impressive, and chillingly calm, vocal harmonies on the record. Conversely, "Jetsun Dolma" examines devotion through the use of Tibetan Buddhism's 21 Taras, enchanced by Saufly-Mitchell's otherworldly keyboard. Throughout, the album is driven and lifted by the stellar guitar work of Isaiah Mitchell.
The album was recorded with Phil Manley at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco, and was recorded live to tape with few overdubs. It was mastered and cut from tape by Roger Seibal at SAE mastering. Although the songs drift into moody and dark territories, the prevailing sentiment is optimistic. Golden Void is a record of unpretentious, extremely well crafted, totally addictive rock and roll. Turn it up!
$8.00 - $10.00