With its militaristic, marching drum beat and sonorous, spaced-out instrumentation, new single “Golden Dirt” lands like the estranged lovechild of Brian Jonestown Massacre and Underworld. The final track to be cut from the eponymously-titled ‘Golden Dirt’ mixtape, it seals the deal on 40-minutes of experimental new music from Manchester-based collective – which will be available to hear in full from this Friday (19 November). Pre-order the mixtape here.
“Yeah me and you we’re golden dirt, champions of the hurt”, reiterates frontman Ben Robinson with a mantra-like conviction, his words melding into arrangements that ebb and flow as fluidly as the space-time continuum. Featuring mesmeric guest vocals and horns from Elara, the track “Golden Dirt” sees Robinson searching for silver linings in the darkest of days. As the singer explains:
“”Golden Dirt” is about going through that burnt out, used up and broken hearted state of mind life can put you into pure golden moments. It’s about how coming together with your friends for a weekend out will cure all your emotional ills. It’s about how much I missed that in lockdown and I cry every time I listen to it thinking about how much I missed my friends. Elara’s part is sensational, fits the emotion so well and the sneaky marching brass band outro she put on it closes the track and the mixtape perfectly”
Following in the footsteps of recent singles “Loud Is Beautiful”, “From The Ground Up” and “Hard Enough To Start With”, “Golden Dirt” is the latest cut to emerge from the project. Released on all platforms on 19th November, the mixtape is a new collaboration with San Francisco-based producer The Olchemist and sees the band pulling something of a handbrake turn on the full-throttle psych/punk sound established on their 2021 debut ‘Dream Harder’.
Written as a means of expressing the frustration and boredom Robinson experienced as a musician and concert promoter (Bluedot/Kendal Calling) during the lockdowns of the last year, the frontman explains how the new ‘Golden Dirt’ mixtape came about:
“I found a little outlet back where I began, in a room by myself engaging with music on a very personal level, as an outlet, as a mental health crutch as a way of understanding what I was feeling, as a way of lifting myself out of depression, as a way of connecting with other people albeit still not in person. The result of those times is a series of recordings I’ve put together into a record called ‘Golden Dirt’”
Owing to a looser creative process, its loop based drum foundations (in the absence of the totemic live drum sound usually provided by his brother Simon) and the variety of guest vocalists who feature throughout; the music that emerged from the late-night ‘Golden Dirt’ sessions quickly adopted the feel of a mixtape. Adding spoken-word laced with his typically irreverent humour and archly warped social commentary, the off-the-cuff lyrics offer a visceral snapshot of Robinson’s mindset day-by-day.
“After doing a rough track I’d then use these to vent my thoughts and feeling.” reflects Robinson. “Sometimes I’d just say what was in my head to get it out such as on ‘Hard Enough To Start With’, other times I’d write a lyric in the day and mess about with it later. A lot of the tracks take on a different meaning looking back on them. As a result there is a narrative of my journey through the last year or so”
Additional samples from label mates Granfalloon and Seven Seals were also woven in, whereas the keen eared may also pick up words taken from the Elon Musk and Joe Rogan podcast about the future of AI and the human race (metaverse). Testament to the times in which it was written, album highlight “We Are Greater” finds Robinson standing shoulder to shoulder with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in a song that recounts his 10 day lockdown tussle with Boris Johnson.
“”We Are Greater” was about a vision of Manchester rising above the situation, people abided by the tier 3, they respected protecting each other even though they knew we’d been treated appallingly on a national stage.” remembers Robinson. “We should all never forget that. The line ‘it was self defence not a fight’ is important, but Andy wasn’t in conflict, he was defending the lives and health of vulnerable people he knew needed more support.”
Reaching out to other fellow musicians across the world in their own stations of isolation, Robinson soon rounded up collaborators from Cumbria, Leeds, Manchester, and London, as well as more far-flung locations as Seattle, Kampala-Uganda, and Republic of Congo. Sending the tracks to San Francisco for a West Coast touch, the recordings were then woven into their final mixtape form by The Olchemist (aka Oliver Linton Brown) who also worked on ‘Dream Harder’.
Available on limited cassette, CD and digitally, the ‘Golden Dirt’ mixtape is released on 19th November 2021 via Cosmic Glue.
HELLO COSMOS – MIXTAPE RELEASE: ‘GOLDEN DIRT’ – OUT 19 NOVEMBER 2021, VIA COSMIC GLUE