Savath & Savalas: Golden Pollen

One of the many forms that Prefuse 73 mastermind Guillermo Scott Herren takes, Savath & Savalas is likely his personal favorite, but it’s far removed from his better-known glitch/hip hop project. It’s a lazy, relaxed record, the psychedelic equivalent of a sagacious Latin American balladeer, with a guitar and a story to tell.

In spite of its title, Golden Pollen is completely in Spanish, and while that might not be surprising given his heritage and tendency to work with varied languages in Prefuse 73, it’s hard to imagine this record in any other language. My broken Spanish makes out songs of love, breathing, solitude and the general human condition, half-sung half-spoken, matching the intonation of the swirling psychedelia he musters above, held down barely by traditional drums deep in the mix.

As such, it’s an easy record to get lost in. Most of the cuts ebb and flow into each other, creating a consistent pastoral landscape for the listener to walk around in. The meditative qualities cannot be understated either, as the vocals, often reminiscent of Gregorian chants, concentrate on holding a note rather than finding others. Songs are held together by seemingly nothing but air, with wispy strings, synths, woodwinds and Herren’s prodigious production skills.

Even though the fan base is remarkably different, it’s hard to imagine Prefuse 73 enthusiasts—or anyone, for that matter—taking issue with Herren’s latest creation. It is detailed enough to satisfy even the most demanding of ears, pulling indescribable sounds together in a uniformly calming, settled experience.

In A Word: Space