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Golden Pollen

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Album Review

On 2004's Apropa't, Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73) utilized the talents of Spanish singer Eva Puyuelo to guide the album's soft, gentle, acoustic guitar-laden, electronica-tinted indie folk. On Golden Pollen, however, he chooses to rely on his own voice, and because of this, ends up with a much more intimate record. Not that Apropa't was particularly distant, but because it's now Herren singing his own compositions (for the most part — Swede José González takes lead on the lovely "Estrellas de Dos Caras," and other vocalists add bit parts throughout), there's a personal attachment to the songs that comes through very clearly. In "Mi Hijo," for example, Herren's layered vocals play carefully but assuredly over the picked guitar and strings, flutes, vibes, winding themselves in unobtrusively and calmly before exiting, while "Paisaje" has an almost rustic old-world feel as it opens, horse hooves clanking on dirt roads, before the other instruments enter and fill out the track. Nothing is overstated, nothing is forceful; it's in the subtlety that Herren's true abilities lie. He doesn't so much write melodies — preferring, in fact, drone-like phrases that move around only a few notes — as create atmospheres, rich and lush but with undercurrents of sadness and searching. "El Solitario," aware of its own loneliness, incorporates woodwinds and percussive guitar, "Apnea Obstructiva" uses piano and strummed chords and short electric bursts to circle around the singer's bittersweet voice like a warm, dusty night, while "Faltamas Palabras," one of the few songs on the album to use an actual drum kit, has a kind of quiet confidence to it, even as it searches vainly for the right note, the right word, never quite ending where it wants to, but trying valiantly nonetheless. There's a delicateness to Golden Pollen, in the double- and triple-tracked vocals, the soft instrumentation, but that doesn't meant it's an unsure or weak record; Herren is steady in hand and mind, with a set of songs he feels very close to, and it's this affection, this love of craft and music, that comes through clearly, more loudly than the actual sounds on the record itself.

Biography

Formed: 1998

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Started in 1998, Savath & Savalas was created as a way for left-field producer Scott Herren (best known for his work as Prefuse 73) to explore his more instrumental and acoustic tendencies. His first full-length, Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey, an experimental, glitchy affair, came out in 2000, followed by the EP Rolls and Waves in 2002 and the much folkier Apropa't — which featured vocals from Catalan singer Eva Puyuelo, who Herren met when spending time in Spain — in 2004....
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Golden Pollen, Savath & Savalas
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