Review Summary: A tour de force of all things electronic, ambient, danceable, and classical.Queen of Golden Dogs
is a nine-track experimental/electronic record that features a jarring blend of aesthetics. One moment, you’ll be plunging your senses into a whirlpool of eclectic IDM ideas, such as the string-accented beats and rhythms of ‘Fantasma (For Jasmine)’. The next, you may find yourself dancing uncontrollably, convulsing to a mutilated club remix like ‘Glory Glory (For Tippi).’ Bridging all of the jolting directional changes are these soft reprieves – the serene ambience of ‘Good Animal (For Hannah)’ and the delicate, classically-influenced ‘Arcanum (For Christalla).’ Queen of Golden Dogs
mixes shadowy, foreboding dubstep with frenetic synths and elegant, orchestral movements. It feels like being trapped in an eighteenth century ballroom with a maniacal composer from the future.
Vessel’s third full-length is beautiful in strange ways, contorting vocal samples and wrapping them around acoustic chamber instruments. The operatic ‘Torno-me eles e nau-e (For Remedios)’ even foregoes the latter, lending certain moments here a distinctly haunting aura. The progression of the album is smoother than it should be too, especially when considering its broad artistic scope and liberal inclusion of secondary and tertiary instruments. Sebastian Gainsborough (the sole man behind Vessel) injects Queen of Golden Dogs
with timely doses of melodic prevalence to keep things from plummeting into utter discord, perhaps no more notably than on the adventurously warm ‘Paplu (Love That Moves the Sun).’ The entire experience pushes forth with the zeal of a composer at the end of his nerve, yet the musical intelligence of someone knowingly crafting his masterpiece – a tour de force of all things electronic, ambient, danceable, and classical.
This is an album that slowly loses its mind. By the time the ghastly, apparition-like aah
’s meet their sprawling, droned-out ambient counterparts on ‘Sand Tar Man Star (For Aurellia)’, it’s too late for sanity. A non-household album by an oft-overlooked electronic artist/producer, Queen of Golden Dogs
is an intriguing, mysteriously intelligent dark horse of a record. Fans of broader electronic/experimental pieces, prepare to be delighted in the delirious lunacy of Vessel’s apex-to-date.