Written by Fense
I initially had difficulty classifying this album. After all, Dandelion Gold is both a label and a collective of musicians — would it then be a label compilation or a blend of songs by the collective and thus titled as such? While I ultimately chose the latter, I later altered it to reflect the individual musicians within. The artists that make up Dandelion Gold consist of experimental masters like Johnny and Ola of Cock and Swan, as well as other underground favorites like Olie Eshleman and Tectonic Plates.
Vastly acoustic, yet run through various loop machines and featuring vintage instruments and elements of electronica, Sampler Volume 1 expands on the known and delves in the unknown.
Take a song like “And In The Night, Home” by Shana Cleveland and compare it to its predecessor “Homunculous” by Olie Eshleman (both can be found below). The former simply finds a female vocalist with an acoustic guitar recording a song, while the latter is an acoustic-based instrumental that dabbles in electronica; the two are distinctly different, yet the similarities in instrumentation and homage to tradition allow them to blend together nicely.
Still, others stray well beyond the norm of traditional folk and acoustic music, like “Orange And Pink” by Johnny Goss. It would be safe to call this folk-tronica for the mellow, calming nature of the music vast with references to both folk and electronic music. There are ambient elements, as is common in such a sub-genre, but they’re not so present they warrant that classification.
The differences between each song allow them to stand alone on Sampler No. 1, but there are enough commonalities to allow the collective to become one — the cohesive unit that is Dandelion Gold. In fact, much of the music in tunes like “Comfort Zone” (Ola Hungerford) and “Spirangulation” (Tectonic Plates) would fit right at home on a Euro net-label like AeroTone.
I guess that’s the brilliance behind a compilation like this — it’s difficult to classify, despite the seemingly obvious labels one wants to apply. I’ve labeled it such above, but in truth it hints at all of the above and much, much more. Sampler Volume 1 is definitely a progressive album, moving music forward.