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Review: 'GOLD, ETHAN'
'The Song Of Sway Lake'   

-  Label: 'Lakeshore Records / Electrik Gold'
-  Genre: 'Soundtrack' -  Release Date: '9th November 2018'

Our Rating:
Ethan Gold's music to kid brother Ari's coming of age movie is described as being "driven by water, silence and nostalgia". The plot of this 'romantic drama' revolves around a young man's quest to recover an old vinyl jazz recording from his family's lakeside house.

The motion picture soundtrack contains the full score in sequence opening with two contrasting versions of the title song which show off Gold's impressive pastiches of period music.

Sway Lake (Lost Record Version), sung by John Grant, is arranged to sound as it’s described in the film: a secret recording of the composer singing with a small group of his friends on the eve of America's entry into World War II and pressed onto a 78 disc. This is followed by Sway Lake (Big Band Version) sung by the trio of English sisters The Staves in the razzle-dazzle style of the late 1940s.

The late father of the movie's protagonist was a ‘piano-playing war hero’ so many of the tunes in the first part of the record are piano-driven fragments and interludes.

Of the 49 tracks, some are less than 30 seconds in duration which means that a piece like Starlight Reveries, at 1 minute 41 seconds, seems positively epic. Other instrumentation comes from notable sources: Jon Hassell on trumpet and Fred Frith on guitar. The former is heard to best effect on the woozy Small Combo.

Following the sombre Sway Lake Finale there's a vivacious five minute intermission (Issa Intermezzi) of Haitian big band music from the 1950s. This leads us into the second part of the record, subtitled 'Sketches of Sway', which comprises brief string arrangements and other sketches tied to the film's themes before signing off with 'swing' and 'rhumba' demos of the song ‘Sway Lake’, this time sung by Gold himself.

This is a departure from the indie rock experiments of his eclectic solo albums but shows yet another side of the Ethan Gold's versatile talents.

Ethan Gold's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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GOLD, ETHAN - The Song Of Sway Lake