“Undeniably enchanting and mythical soundscapes … incredibly dreamy.”
1. The Ghost Of A Total Stranger
2. I’ll Burn Alone
4. In Dreams I Roam The Petaled Gloom
Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble + Gregg Alexander Joseph Neville are Golden Gardens, a mystical duo up from the nocturnal underground, weaving dreamscapes and anthems for magical minds. They present their latest release, Bellflower, the darkly shimmering companion to Summer 2013’s Narcissus. These enchanted mirror-image EPs examine the cycle of love and infatuation from two unique perspectives. Where Narcissus danced on the yellow rays of fantasy and first love, the more serious and mesmerizing Bellflower broods in the shadows of solitude and self-preservation. Each represents a movement of boutique music making, personalized art that is big at heart and beautiful in details.
The opening track of Bellflower “The Ghost Of A Total Stranger” rides a phantasmal, scarcely-60s garage beat, while Bramble’s unearthly soprano crests over Japanese Whispers-era Cure synths and Neville’s jangling guitar. The eerie, deep sea sonar sounds and dreamily mournful guitar of “I’ll Burn Alone” propels the EP’s theme of solitude to its most somber depths as Bramble wails the phrase, “nothing will ever break my heart again” over a driving, arpeggiated bass line and Coldwave beats. The indigo-hued moodiness reaches a climax on “Carmilla,” a crepescular dance number relying heavily on electronic beats and staggered Latin backing chants. Bramble’s soprano takes center stage, soaring over Neville’s beautifully sullen guitar hook. The entire brief collection comes to a rapturous close with “In Dreams I Roam The Petaled Gloom,” a sparse, honey-soaked ethereal gem of lilting vocals and spangly guitars over delicate billows of watery synths. Meditative and mysterious, Bellflower is a gorgeously devastating, concise collection of songs that gives its listener the best of Golden Gardens in an ebony-colored nutshell.
When earlier this year Golden Gardens began work on Narcissus, Bramble found herself lyrically drawn to the themes of desire and adoration — that brightness, dizziness, almost-dreaminess of infatuation. Once it was time to start working on new material, the duo decided to develop the story further. Instead of working towards another full-length, Bramble and Neville began to craft a sister EP to Narcissus, one that examined the darker twist of the love life cycle — despair, loneliness, wrath. “And here you have Bellflower,” Bramble says. “In a way, the story is seasonal. Narcissus represents Spring/Summer, Bellflower represents Winter/Fall. We wanted to produce a compendium of compositions that could take the listener through an entire year of experiences.”
Bellflower is a limited run of 50 hand-numbered, hand-assembled CD EPs, each a little unique, with special bonus material that is not available with the digital-only version. It will come in a clear vinyl sleeve with hand-printed inserts and the disc itself will be pure white with a custom stamp and a handwritten number. Neville says: “For Bellflower, we are doing bluebell stamps in silver (versus the daffodil stamps in gold on Narcissus) and the bonus material will consist of some previously unreleased tracks from the How Brave The Hunted Wolves session.” Also of note, there will be four unique art films made to accompany each track on Bellflower; these will be released individually online leading up to the worldwide digital-only release and may also be available for purchase on a limited DVD run at a later date.
The Bellflower limited physical release was on October 29th, with a special show on October 30th for fans at Gargoyles Statuary on The Ave in Seattle. Golden Gardens will next play a full show on November 30 at Columbia City Theater with Suzanne Perry of Love Spirals Downward, trading off songs together from each other’s bands.
Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble met Gregg Alexander Joseph Neville when she was producing and curating art, music, and film events in Florida around 2006. She hosted a series of multi-format events at various venues under her own arts collective, Avant-Garde In The Now. Neville was acquainted with Bramble’s husband and was involved with a noise project at the time.
“Aubrey booked my project, noWhere, for a couple of her events and we became friendly,” says Neville. He had been kicking some dreampop demos around in Tampa, FL a few years later, after Bramble had moved to Seattle, but was having trouble finding a local vocalist. “I had been secretly dying to sing in this sort of project forever, so I asked him if he would be into trying something out remotely,” she says. “We worked on a track through file sharing, and it went so well that we just continued to develop material until we found ourselves with a complete EP (Somnambulist, released December 2010).” Neville moved to Seattle in early 2012, and they’ve been persistently growing their following in the underground dark dance/art music scene.
Following two full-length albums, a modest collection of EPs and singles, and with both band members living in the same city, Golden Gardens is hitting their musical stride. Ever-maturing and ever-growing, their sparkling melodies continue to dazzle and delight, advance and evolve, consistently twist and bend yet always stay true to that signature dark Golden Gardens sound. With Bellflower Bramble and Neville hope to reach new audiences and a wider network of fans.
Golden Gardens’ tracks have received radio love from around the globe on stations including WZBC Boston, WFNX Phoenix, Sydney’s 94.5 FM, Munich’s 92.4 FM, as well as the internationally-renowned listener-powered Seattle radio station KEXP 90.3 FM. “Transparent Things” from 2012’s full-length How Brave The Hunted Wolves was John Richards’ pick for Song of the Day on KEXP on February 1, 2013 and was also included on French Vice-subsidiary Hartzine’s Summer 2012 mixtape. Other tracks that have seen notable airplay in the US and abroad include “Ostara,” “Alcove,” “Pearls Pierce The Mists” (all from How Brave The Hunted Wolves), as well as “All Night I Lay Hidden In The Garden” and “Peering Through A Glass Prism” (both from Narcissus). Among the many bands and performers Golden Gardens has shared the stage with, the most memorable events include Blissfest 2012 in Chicago with lovesliescrushing, Airiel, and New Canyons; Seattle shows at The Crocodile with Nite Jewel and The Sunset with Sister Crayon; a Portland cruise performance with Suzanne Perry of Love Spirals Downwards; and regional gigs with local and national bands such as Whirr, Kithkin, Pony Time, and The Redwood Plan.