What do you mean you’ve never heard of Golden Champagne Flavoured Sweatshirt (GCFS) and her new album Expectant? Being released on Oakland’s Ratskin Records November 20, 2020 this 7-track is a heady collage of sound, words and ideas that will expand your definition of music and creativity.
Each of the tracks on the release wanders down paths few people have the nerve to take or explore. Electronic music has been around longer then most people realize, first coming to most people’s attention with Wendy Carlos’ Switched On Bach. However, the artists who produce and create the music usually slip under the radar and rarely attract the attention of wider audiences.
GCFS is one of the artists looking to take electronic music out of its almost cloistered existence and bring it to a wider audience. She’s a multimedia artist – working in everything from watercolours to digital to create visual art – and she brings the sensibilities of both musician and painter to her work. Her pieces are a type of synaesthesia – generated sounds which create images and pictures in your head.
This isn’t music you can listen to as background or something you’re going to hear piped in to some coffee shop. This is music you have to pay attention to. Like a painting which reveals its secrets the longer you stare at it, the more you listen to Expectant the more you will appreciate the atmospheres and moods it creates.
Take for example the track entitled ‘Seacreatures’. Here GCFS has created an aural soundscape of ebbing and pulsing waves akin to what it might be like underwater. We’ve all heard recordings of waves, and even recordings of whales, but this creation immerses us in a reality that’s completely beyond our experiences.
However, Expectant isn’t some new age make me feel good about shit music. It’s harsh and unstinting in its depictions as well. ‘Whicket’ – which I’ve taken to be a play on words with wicked – is an exploration of the Christian concept of original sin. A man’s voice is heard coaching a child to recite that Jesus died for our sins because we can’t redeem ourselves and that the wages of sin are death.
However as the piece progresses the same male voice says that as his eyes have opened he has now realized how much Easter owes to pagan worship. It leaves you second-guessing your opinions of the piece and forces you to listen to it with even more care.
It also reminds you how limited a black-and-white view of the world can be and that it is possible to hold onto two beliefs at once.
Expectant travels down roads few musicians dare – there be dragons down some of the paths GCFS will take you on and it’s all the more fascinating and wonderful for it. This is electronic music that is finding the space between the aural wallpaper designs of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno from the 1970s and today’s dance music producers like Tribe Called Red.
Fascinating and intriguing, Expectant is a perfect example of what electronic music is able to create to help expand our minds and awareness.