Genres: ambient, experimental electronic
Jan 10 - 16 2005
According to the Christöphilax website:
"goldensmell is a radical seven-part olfactory
intervention in which christöphilax's senses begin to take leave of
him. in the closing months of 2004, christöphilax suffered a
further setback, a crushing blow that would be unbearable for lesser
cultural artisans: a traumatic injury to his olfactor, resulting in
the permanent loss of his ability to smell ... goldensmell is a
touching homage to odour and to the powers of olfaction. goldensmell
recreates, in the aural medium, the olfactory experience of some of
the defining popular music events of the common era -- some
originally attended by christöphilax, others imagined."
An interesting start to an interesting record. Goldensmell
may not exude smells from your stereo speakers, but it sure tries its
best to experiment with Christöphilax's take on the olfactory
experience. The first piece, "goldensmellone," sets
the stage immediately - the sound is glitchy and ambient, reminding
the listener of Farmers Manual and Coil; apparently the
piece is meant to revisit a 1968 Blue Cheer concert, heavily
draped in the odour of weed and patchouli. Where the Blue
Cheer/ambient connection comes from is beyond me, but the
composition is, regardless, a relaxingly atmospheric
The other pieces follow in a similar ambient vein, although the
overall texture and mood is adjusted for each of Christöphilax's
olfactory influences. "goldensmellthree" is
particularly interesting - its lush, calmed tunefulness is intended as
a tribute to the "brown note," which (as any South Park fan
will be able to tell you) is a specially-developed low-frequency tone
capable of causing involuntary defecation. This piece doesn't
really remind me of the odour of leaking bowels, but it serves as a
beautiful sonic experience nonetheless.
Meanwhile "goldensmellfour" mixes things up by
introducing a Moroder-style rhythm to the mix, while "goldensmellfive"
exploits creepy audio sample and "goldensmellsix" (a bizarre
tribute to John Cage's 4'33") manages to be tuneful and eerie.
As the album progresses, it seems to become more and more accessible,
adopting concepts from Eno and even Orbital ("goldensmellseven"
reminds me of the intro to "Halcyon & On & On").
What makes Goldensmell especially interesting is its low,
low cost - if you're willing to scoot your anus to Christöphilax's
website and shoot him an email, the philax himself is ready to
send a copy of the release (as well as any of his others) for the
reasonable sum of zero dollars. And for a record as consistently
wondrous and atmospheric as this one, that's an especially appealing
bargain. For ambient music that dares to be tuneful and
accessible, Goldensmell is one you can't afford to skip over.
Fun Fact: "Chrysophylax"
is a person-eating dragon in one of J.R.R. Tolkien's obscure fantasy
novellas, Farmer Giles of Ham.
8 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2005]