SAVATH & SAVALAS: Golden Pollen (Anti)
SAVATH & SAVALAS
16 Tracks. 52mins29secs
Buy it: CD
Guillermo Scott Herren | Anti-
Following a debut album, Folk Songs For Trains, Trees And Honey, concerned primarily with gentle acoustic-infused electronica, Guillermo Scott Herren turned to his father’s native Spanish roots, moved to Barcelona and covered his Savath & Savalas project with soft Mediterranean tones and moods with Appropa’t and its sister EP, Mañana, both released on Warp during 2004. While Folk Songs… was an entirely instrumental record, Appropa’t saw Herren venturing into song-based territory with Catalonian singer songwriter Eva Puyuelo Muns sharing vocal duties with him. For Golden Pollen, his first album for Los Angeles imprint Anti, it is Herren alone who steps behind the mic, with Swedish singer songwriter Jose Gonzalez landing a helping hand on one track.
Like on its predecessor, all the songs of Golden Pollen are sung in Spanish, and Herren makes extensive use of acoustic instruments, delicate melodies and occasional found sounds. Right from the short sequence that opens, the mood is set, and Herren never veers away from his template. All the way through, softly blushed vocals float above rich orchestrations and gentle rhythms to create airy pieces best suited for the time of the day when the torpor retreats and life returns. From the refined melodies of Apnea Obstructiva, Estrella De Dos Caras or El Solitario to the denser Concreto, Te Amo… Por Que Me Odias?, Vidas Animadas or Tormenta De La Flor, Herren crafts impeccable compositions which nothing seem to be able to derail. Everything is not quite as peaceful though. Three songs in, Paisaje begins in calm mood, with environmental noises bubbling in the background while a soft acoustic guitar carves delicate formations in the foreground, but soon voices and instruments appear in total melt down and struggle to stay in tune. Although Concreto, which follows, is not affected in such a way, there is still a partial feeling of misplacement that lingers over it for a while.
Once again, Herren has surrounded himself with an impressive cluster of musicians and artists here, including Jose Gonzalez, who takes care of the main vocal section on the beautiful Estrella De Dos Caras, or Los Angeles-based singer Mia Doi Todd, who guests on Intro, while Triosk drummer Laurence Pike, Danny Bensi and experimental vocalist and Battles member Tyondai Braxton provide drums, cello and additional vocals respectively all the way through.
While Appropa’t represented quite a new direction for Guillermo Scott Herren, and was linked to his move to Barcelona, Golden Pollen is less of a surprise, and perhaps lacks the spontaneity of its predecessor. This said, Herren certainly excels as much at assembling lush sun-drenched songs and chilled moods as he does intricate hip hop beats and shattering grooves. Golden Pollen requires a bit of time to settle and reveal its many depths, but once it does, it becomes a very enjoyable record indeed.