When we first heard that Chilly Gonzales and Boys Noize were « Working Together » again, we speculated on what the result would be: Touching electronic-infused piano melodies and harmonies. On July 18th. Chilly Gonzales and Boys Noise announced the first freely downloadable single (« In Silence ») from their forthcoming album « Octave Minds », which will be released in Sept, 2014. « In Silence » sets the bar very high for the rest of the album, which is sure to be beyond what anyone was expecting.
Gonzales announced the collaboration on Twitter:
— chilly gonzales (@chillygonzales) July 18, 2014
Here’s the fully downloadable song on SoundCloud:
« In Silence »
A gentle rain sets the mood, which slowly gives way to Gonzlales’ piano and Boys Noize’ drumkit, which fade in directly with the main song motif: a piano « call and response » theme. A seemingly sampled voice chimes in to provide the song’s moniker « in silence ». So far, it’s very gentle and sparse, with airy synths breathing away in the background. « In Silence » possibly refers to the amount of space this contemplative, downtempo track leaves; there’s plenty of room for listeners to ‘fill in the sonic gaps’.
After a few more repeated motifs, the drums stop and let the piano speak, which shifts the mood slightly before returning to the main motif with drums. There is also a familiar descending chimes that can be heard on many of Gonzales’ songs.
At the 3-minute mark, there is a breakdown, which includes some lovely digital noodling accompanied by a soft synth bass and descending chimes. The noodling gives way to a thoroughly wonderful 80s synth bass line that tracks its way across the keyboard with Gonzales 88-key accompaniment – mostly in the form of repeated chords.
This is a great initial release, as it seems to effectively introduce what each performer is ‘bringing to the table’ – akin to the ‘intro’ on rap songs where the featured artists are mentioned by name (only this approach is more clever). Gonzales has his piano featured prominently, and Boys Noise brings his accompanying electro, including a wonderfully nostalgic bassline. Gonzales also has his ‘solo’ heralding his arrival, and shortly after, Gonzales steps back and lets Boys Noize work his magic, finally re-uniting to great effect.
« Octave Minds »
The collaborative name « Octave Minds » is worth exploring further. The octave is an ancient musical concept that has existed in most forms of music around the globe in one way or another. Notes an octave apart are related in the sense that if you double or halve a note’s frequency, then you are going up or down an octave. Notes that are multiples of an octave apart are perceived as having the same « quality » or « colour ». Octaves are also found in natural sciences (e.g. the periodic table), and in the mammalian brain; as a physiological basis to the reason why we « perceive » octaves (specifically, an « octave mapping of neurons in the auditory thalamus »). To us, « Octave Minds » refers to the fact that when Gonzales and Boys Noize collaborate, their different but related approaches to music combine to produce music that’s even more compelling than either musician alone. The listeners minds are alike as well, in the sense that although we are all different, we share the same « mind » that allows us to appreciate the beauty of this collaborative music.
For many people, this song represents « die Zeit überbrücken » or the modern bridge between electro and classical worlds. Gonzales and Boys Noize describe it as « New Age-Electronic-Romance… » (from the @octaveminds Twitter page); a very apt description. They also refer to « 88″+ »808″, which alludes to Gonzlales’ piano (88 keys), plus Boys Noize’s electro sound, represented by the infamous Roland TR-808 drum machine. Like « chocolate and peanut butter », the combination of these two masters produces a wonderful new sound, and we can’t wait to hear (and review) the full album.