Reid Anderson, Dave King & Craig Taborn – Golden Valley Is Now (2019) [24bit FLAC]

Reid Anderson, Dave King & Craig Taborn – Golden Valley Is Now (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 48:23 minutes | 563 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Intakt Records

In 2010, Bad Plus drummer Dave King, his bandmate bassist/keyboardist Reid Anderson, and pianist/synthesist Craig Taborn performed together at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis as part of the drummer’s King for Two Days Extravaganza. The music they offered, while fully imbued with their individual musical personas, bore little resemblance to their better-known projects. This trio’s members, all from different parts of Golden Valley, Minnesota, have known one another and played together off and on since high school. They explore rock, punk, and post-punk, electronic music, jazz, and indie pop together and separately. All are lovers of songs above all else, despite the fact they are highly developed improvising jazzmen. Given their wildly busy schedules, The Golden Valley Is Now took roughly a decade to come together. Recorded in August of 2018 in Minneapolis, these ten tracks have little — if anything — to do with jazz, and that’s a good thing.

Anderson (electric bass and electronics) wrote eight of these 11 tunes, while King (organic and synthetic drums) wrote the other three. Their fixed focus was on song forms. The notion of “soloists” was thrown out the window. The music is tightly scripted and pays careful attention to texture, color, dynamic and, to a lesser extent, hooks. Taborn’s place on synths and electric and acoustic pianos is central as the most recognizable center of melody, but his bandmates stick very close. Elements of indie electronica meld with lighthearted prog, easy flowing indie rock, and D.I.Y. electro-pop. Opener “City Diamond” combines keyboard riffs and drum fills with a sparse yet pronounced melody shaded by Anderson playing chords on his bass. King’s “High Waste Drifter” commences with an aggressive set of drum rolls before careening off into angular electro-rock that sounds like a rave-up take on a futuristic cartoon surf theme. “Polar Heroes” offers off-kilter synth vamps and lyrical lines, underscored by electronic snare and double-tracked basslines playing complementary melodies and rhythmic vamps. “You Might Live Here” commences with a snare-and-kick-drum rock shuffle, answered by Anderson’s bass before Taborn slides up front with a series of pop chords that could support any modern singer. His limpid, chiming single notes in the tags form a companion lyric element to the drama and mystery before the tune extrapolates with progressive cues and feints. “End of the World” is a two-minute closer that sounds like it’s a space age counterpart to Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 3. Golden Valley Is Now is lovely just for what it is. This date isn’t about showing musical muscle; it’s about composing, playing, and arranging songs — simple instrumental ones — with creativity and panache. This trio accomplish that with rawness, immediacy, collective good will, and a wacky kind of elegance.

1 City Diamond (Reid Anderson) 5:54
2 Sparklers and Snakes (Dave King) 3:57
3 Song One (Reid Anderson) 7:42
4 This is Nothing (Reid Anderson) 6:28
5 High Waist Drifter (Dave King) 2:47
6 Polar Heroes (Reid Anderson) 4:28
7 You Might Live Here (Reid Anderson) 5:37
8 Solar Barges (Dave King) 5:09
9 Hwy 1000 (Reid Anderson) 4:14
10 The End of the World (Reid Anderson) 2:07

Reid Anderson: Electric Bass, Electronics
Dave King: Acoustic and Electronic Drums
Craig Taborn: Synthesizers, Electric and Acoustic Piano

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