Luxury Pond
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Luxury Pond

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"Daytrotter"

Out With The Dim Grays As Light Spills In
Mar 14, 2009

It’s not down the line, but there’s some kind of awakening, a slippery unraveling playing out in nearly every Dan Goldman song. There is very new light and rosy cheeks from the brisk morning, out-of-doors temperatures of an early spring just post-daybreak. There is the smell of fresh laundry wrapped right up in a smell of popping bacon strips, the sunny-side-upping of a half dozen eggs and the babbling pot of Folger’s coffee over in the corner, the machine plugged into the wall right next to the can opener. There’s a sound of a cage of pigeons still curling their q’s and coo-snoozing gently through the first hours of a day. There are too many yawnings and stretchings, an effort to be alert and wide-eyed and bushy-tailed for whatever may lie ahead. Everywhere you look, Goldman’s decorated the scene with his subtle little, plush amenities and trinkets, all of which add this just getting going and kicking out the dim grays and expired blacks of the evening, allowing for that sudden visibility that clicks on when the alarm clock has finally been obeyed. Goldman’s voice sounds like orange juice or a mimosa, just the right touch for someone struggling to, but open to the idea of getting perky after a long (or short) night. It’s the sort of light falling rain, with the right amount of drive and the right amount of aloof do what it will kind of ambition. He finds ways to bring the thrusting of curtains open into so many of the moods and tempers he brings to life. You can almost hear his music slowly chugging and rounding up the troops, then bursting over to the window and letting all of the light into the room – in one swelling avalanche. It’s a sly and patient demeanor that’s pulled off with inventive wordplay and amorphous meanings. He sings, “A frozen lake lies still between you and me/It took two years for it to freeze,” and that could be one of the prettiest way of saying that two people madly in love with each other grew miles apart and no longer know any shared warmth. Goldman is set to marry a Daytrotter favorite – Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink – next month and like his soon-to-be wife, the Canadian is spectacular when it comes to slipping around on the floor between responsibility and uncomfortably coping with aging. It’s a shuffle, like a waltz with completely open-ended boundaries. It’s a fragile walk over the grounds and getting the feels, smelling the scents and letting the skin capture all of the new sensations and figure out how it’s going to react to everything now that it has to make so many more decisions than it did before. A body knows when it’s the lucky one, he comments in “Through A Revolution.” The second half of the line is about the proximity to the sun (particularly a planet’s), but it doesn’t have to be taken as a line vaguely about the solar system. It can be about the effects of that vitamin D pouring down from the fiery ball of heat, lighting all of us from the inside and the outside, making it feel as if there was some kind of Disney magic in the effects, even though we should know better. It’s okay to think optimistically though. It’s how we’ll get on and get by. - Out With The Dim Grays As Light Spills In


"WNYC New York"

Dan Goldman’s Luxury Pond

Dan Goldman is a songwriter based in Toronto, and his latest project is a group of unusual, tuneful, elegantly textured songs about sharks, boulders, frozen lakes, clay portraits, and the emotions they evoke and reflect. With accompaniments that include gorgeous string quartet arrangements by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), the sound-world of Goldman’s songs is lush and fresh. “Luxury Pond” hasn’t been released yet, and host David Garland offers you your first chance to hear this delectably original album. - Spinning On Air


"Chart Magazine"

Luxury Pond is the latest project to emerge from the mind of Toronto singer/songwriter Dan Goldman, who released the solo album Through A Revolution in 2004.

Like that disc, Luxury Pond is awash with aquatic imagery: turtles, fish, sharks, boulders and frozen lakes. Owen Pallett (a.k.a. Final Fantasy) is back again for the ride and acts as arranger to The St. Kitts String Quartet, Goldman's backing band. Pallett is familiar with these four since it's the same ensemble he worked with on his Polaris Music Prize-winning He Poos Clouds.

Luxury Pond is about as delicate an album as you'll hear this year. At times, it's reminiscent of the Radar Bros.' slower moments. Once in a while it understandably veers into Final Fantasy territory. Goldman's fragile voice and gentle guitar plucking are the anchors for the entire set.

This is the kind of music you can play for your baby and it'll likely make them smarter. - Review by Scott Bryson


"Hour, Montreal"

Jamie O'Meara


Luxury Pond

Having only one day to record an entire album would be enough to throw a biblical fear into the bones of most, though most wouldn't have come into the recording of an album as wholly prepared - let's say arranged - as Luxury Pond's Dan Goldman (for all intents and porpoises, the Toronto-based Luxury Pond is solely Goldman).

On Luxury Pond's latest, his self-titled sophomore LP, Goldman had a little help from a classically trained arranger in the form of Final Fantasy's Owen Pallett, who's lent this particular strength to orchestral and string arrangements on, for example, both Arcade Fire albums.

"Owen and I got the string arrangements down in the months leading up to the recording," says Goldman in a prepared statement. "We rehearsed a few times and all of the musicians were stellar. That said, I went into it willing to trade the idea of 'perfection' for a feeling of honesty."

Luxury Pond is a highly nuanced, low-key, meditative and at times almost whimsical affair, something Goldman will attempt to replicate in a live setting as a duo.

"I'm touring with Daniela Gesundheit [Snowblink] who sang on the album. Daniela plays small percussion toys, loops her vocals, plays a short wave radio and sometimes sings through a wine glass," says Goldman. "I sing, play guitar and bass pedals. We try to get as much textural variety out of the duo situation as possible."

Luxury Pond will soon be on tour in the following locales... - Luxury Pond didn't need the luxury of time while recording new album


"QUICK HITTERS:: LUXURY POND"

QUICK HITTERS:: LUXURY POND

Honestly, this week can’t end fast enough. Even the pleasure of seeing Christina Martin and Matt Charlton play to only a few close friends last night doesn’t cushion the impact of the work week I’ve suffered through. Throw in another overcast, grey day here in Halifax and it’s not surprising I’ve continued to leave the new LP from Luxury Pond on repeat lately.

Luxury Pond is the vision of Dan Goldman with percussive and vocal support from Daniela Gesundheit. The duo is heading out East and playing small spaces in an effort to showcase the subtle percussion and tenderness of melancholic tracks like I Don't Believe You and the xylophone/acoustic infused The Bones, but their self-titled LP is much larger in sound and scope.

Dan paired his delicate melodies with the Owen Pallett arranged, St.Kitts String Quartet and the result is full of life. Instead of adding an overpolished sheen to the mix, the strings actually breathe life and spontaneity into the tracks, soften the impact of the sadnessand allow Dan and Daniela to focus on vocal interplay and mood.

I could easily jump into discussion about the intelligence of the recordings or the lushness the band creates, but the thing that really impresses me is that even with the comfort of perfectly arranged strings, the duo doesn’t use the quartet as a crutch. Dan and Daniela treat the strings like just another element and I think that will show when the band plays smaller shows. Whether its the picked riff and dual vocals on Your Truest Nature, but never overpower the track and Dear Shark lets the strings enrich the vocals and to provide depth.

Luxury Pond is an ambitious project, but not one that drifts too far to the artistic side of the equation. Make no mistake, these songs are pop songs... meticulously constructed pop songs, but pop songs none the less. Luxury Pond is bringing their unique sound to Halifax for some house shows, but will also be playing July 4th at the Company House. - Hero Hill


"Various Clippings"

"Dan Goldman is a songwriter based in Toronto, and his latest project is a group of unusual, tuneful, elegantly textured songs about sharks, boulders, frozen lakes, clay portraits, and the emotions they evoke and reflect. With accompaniments that include gorgeous string quartet arrangements by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), the sound-world of Goldman's songs is lush and fresh."
- David Garland (NPR New York, Spinning On Air, June 14th, 2008)

"Combining avant-garde sound collage with the melodies and emotional forthrightness of pop, Dan Goldman's Through A Revolution is one of 2004's most intriguing Canadian albums. "
- Michael White (The Westender, Vancouver, BC, Aug.18-24, 2005)

"...pop songwriting at its finest. Dripping with scholarly wit, impressive progressions and an apparent devotion to careful planning, through a revolution collects ten masterfully–built little ditties perfect for a lazy day of pensive thought."
- Neil Haverty (View Magazine; Hamilton, Ontario; September 1–7, 2005)

"through a revolution lulls the listener into a gentle state of musical bliss..."
- Martin Kemp (Fast Forward; Calgary, Alberta; August 25-Sept 1, 2005)

"Dan Goldman's Through A Revolution is inventive, witty and intimate..."
- Carl Wilson, The Globe and Mail (July 29th, 2004, as part of Carl's "Notes for a midsummer break's mixed tape")

"Dan Goldman is a man who understands that great music is all about subtelty..."
- Greg Pratt (Monday Magazine, Victoria, BC; August 18-24, 2005)

"...his tunes sound reflective but have sharp edges that pop out when you least expect them..."
- Ken Eisner (Georgia Straight; Vancouver, BC; Aug 18-25 2005)

"...deeply inspires, creating intense musical ventures that can only be called art. The music is colorful, vivid, striking and fluid."
- Kyra Walker, Kingston This Week (Feb., 2002) - across Canada


"View Magazine, Hamilton"

by Neil Haverty (View Magazine; Hamilton, Ontario; September 1–7, 2005)


This is pop songwriting at its finest. Dripping with scholarly wit, impressive progressions and an apparent devotion to careful planning, through a revolution collects ten masterfully–built little ditties perfect for a lazy
day of pensive thought. His bio didn’t get me very far in my search for more information, so I had no choice but to go straight to the horse’s mouth. In doing so, I found a wonderful footnote to the already amazing surprise I had
discovered just days earlier; it turns out that Dan Goldman is not only an enviable songwriter and talented guitar player, but he also seems to be a polite and humble guy with a serious sense of humour.

It seems every answer to my questions takes the form of an amusing anecdote. “I love touring and meeting people,” he tells me. “I love the fans who you’d least expect to enjoy your music. In Duncan, this biker guy was at the show. When I saw him walk in, I thought, ‘I’d better beef the set up, be a little rockier than usual.’ Of course, I didn’t do that at all. But when the show was done, he came up to me and told me that he loved the show and my approach to harmony and we launched into a conversation about Bach.

“Wanna hear a funny story?” Goldman continues. “The guy who runs that place (Duncan Garage Showroom, the best room to play in Canada) is called Longevity John. He’s a towering 55–year–old hippie who owns 11
terriers. He said ‘Candace (Goldman’s manager), Dan, come over here. I wanna show you something.’ He then proceeded to open the mini–van and the dogs all ran out at once. Then he said he was a leather worker and he showed us this hat that had a few pieces of leather dangling from it. He called it his silent wind chime, Because who really wants to know how windy it is at
3am?’”

Something tells me that Goldman has a whole catalogue of interesting road stories. His show at the Casbah Lounge this week (part of the always
entertaining Eclectricity variety night) comes at the tale end of a nationwide tour that started in Banff earlier this month. Though great musicians like Owen Pallet (Final Fantasy, Les Mouches), Mia Sheard, and Justin Haynes
stopped by during the recording of through a revolution, Goldman has been playing in solo troubadour mode lately, stripping his songs down to what really makes them great: booksmart melodic poetry and perfectly sound song structures. An obsessive guitar player and classically–trained musician (including a classical guitar diploma from Vanier in Montreal and a jazz degree from Concordia), Goldman’s songs scream experience.

“I started playing at 15. I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but the clinching moments for me to want to learn the instrument was seeing a bar mitzvah band guitarist whale and the Coca–Cola commercial where the teenager is on his bed playing his strat. Then my uncle came for dinner every friday night and showed me little classical guitar tunes,” Goldman explains. “At that point I
was really into classic rock (the usual suspects—Zep, The Who, Floyd, et cetera—and classical guitar music. Guitar playing was the only thing I was good at. I liked sports too, but you know, at 16 or 17, what with all the
pot and psychedelics, one gravitates to music a lot easier. The next few years were a lot of free improv rockish bands, a lot of dope smoking in suburban
basements and, um, formal studies. I incidentally just saw that bar mitzvah guy a few weeks ago and he was a really bitter old bastard.”

Born in Montreal, Goldman moved to Toronto back in 1998. Shortly after, he formed Kitchen-musik (featuring cellist Mike Olsen, drummer Ryan Martin, bassist Paul Matthew and flautist Rob Piilonen) and began playing guitar with Mia Sheard’s band. And though those projects were certainly formative, it was Goldman’s girlfriend at the time who had influence on his earliest
solo writings.

“I lived with a poet and writer for a couple of years (actually she’s the reason I moved to Toronto). I was really into Joni Mitchell at the time, and Heather Birrell (the girl) wrote a few sets of lyrics that were based on Joni’s approach. Heather really opened my eyes to modern poetry. I think I’ve strayed from that approach, preferring these days to be a little more abstract (or totally literal). These days I’m more into the lyrics of Smog, Wilco, Joanna Newsom and, of course, Leanard Cohen, whose writing never grows old, in my opinion.”

Like any little secret surprise, I was tempted to keep Goldman all to myself—you know, that little undiscovered gem buried in your record collection. But as I listen to through a revolution over and over again, I
figure I won’t be able to hide it for very long. Dan Goldman is definitely one pleasant surprise. - Songwriting at its best


"Fast Forward, Calgary"


Toronto-based Dan Goldman quietly plots his musical revolution
By Martin Kemp (Fast Forward; Calgary, Alberta; August 25-Sept 1, 2005)

For a guy who has released an album called Through the Revolution, Dan Goldman comes across as very relaxed and laid-back. More like a soft-voiced mediator than a revolutionary.

The Toronto-based singer-songwriter, formerly from Quebec, is amused when that observation is brought up during a recent phone conversation.
"More like a quiet revolutionary. I am from Quebec, after all," he says, laughing. "I don’t feel the need to get loud in order to go through some sort of metamorphosis or catharsis."

Goldman’s 2004 recording features an ambient and gentle musical backdrop, with commanding and thoughtful lyrics. If he is a revolutionary, it’s because he lulls the listener into a gentle state of musical bliss, with often surreal instrumentation and well-placed samples, and then clobbers them over the head with words that probe heady subjects like life and love, while examining the very essence of existence.

While his live show primarily features voice and guitar, his recordings seem to know few musical boundaries. During his tenure with the Toronto group Kitchenmusik – a band described as the love child of Joni Mitchell and Bill Frisell – one reviewer commented, "For those who have spent countless nights lying awake, wondering what it would sound like if the Rheostatics were artier, the answer has finally arrived – and they call it Kitchenmusik."

While "arty" isn’t the first word Goldman would use to describe himself, he doesn’t run shrieking from the title. "I don’t set out to be arty," he says. "I just set out to be as honest as I possibly can in my writing. I don’t set out to write thinking about what’s hip. If I’m arty, it’s because I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and am influenced by different kinds of music. I suppose that’s arty."

With influences that range from Pink Floyd and Radiohead to Canada’s Veda Hille, Goldman doesn’t hesitate to throw disparate sounds together like a kid trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. "It is a kind of revolutionary feeling in that it feels like it is something you’ve never done before," he says. "It feels like something fresh and new, like when you were a kid and you went to camp for the first time and it felt like two weeks was two years, and everybody that you meet is completely fascinating and every bend, ever corner and nook and cranny seems totally fresh and new."

And if people don’t get it, that’s fine with him. But in this world dominated by mass-fed, formulaic music, Goldman is surprised by who does get his music.
"Sometimes the people who like my music, I least expect them to. Sometimes there are people who are completely into mainstream pop music, who for some reason, like what I do. That’s always surprising."

Maybe that’s because he’s able to observe trends in mainstream music, while turning those trends upside down and pushing the limits of his own work.
Goldman’s website (www.dangoldman.ca) features a game he made up called "academicization," where he takes commercial pop lyrics and rewrites them with more of an intellectual sensibility. When put through the Goldman filter, the classic Britney Spears lyric "Oops! You think I'm in love/ That I'm sent from above/ I'm not that innocent," becomes "Forgive me if it's your impression that I've developed profound feelings of attachment/ That I'm an emissary of the supernatural/ In reality I'm more culpable than I've led you to believe."

A sign of a complicated mind? Perhaps. But turning things upside down is exactly what a revolutionary does. And Dan Goldman does it well. - Sing Softly and Carry a Big Lyric


"Georgia Straight, Vancouver"


Dan Goldman’s music isn’t like anyone else’s. In fact, it isn’t always like itself—something Vancouverites will get a chance to discover when the singer-songwriter comes to the Butchershop Gallery on Saturday (August 20). His first full-length album, Through a Revolution, finds him backed by a shifting collage of strings, electronic samples, and found sounds. Here, though, he’ll be going it alone, with a nylon-string guitar.


“Hey, I’m curious to see what my music’ll sound like, too,” he says, on the line from his Toronto home. (Well, it’s actually the phone belonging to a neighbour, singer Mia Sheard, since he’s been touring too much to keep his land line going.)


Goldman has told tales here before, notably about a year ago with like-minded performers such as Veda Hille, Christine Fellows, and John Sampson. He shares their go-for-it sensibility in that his tunes sound reflective but have sharp edges that pop out when you least expect them.


“I’ve really stripped back the songs,” he explains. “With recording, I’m trying to create a world that’s completely fictional. You’re taking advantage of the sterility, in a way, to come up with something wholly out of your imagination. But a live situation has so much built-in charm and ambiance, with steam from the cappuccino maker and other sounds in the room, and that’s enough for me. Also, the audience is looking at the singer through a layer of smoke—or maybe that’s just in Montreal.”


The composer, who admits his work (which can be heard in detail at dangoldman.ca/) is “kind of soundtrack-y” at times, has written for dance companies. He also placed a song in indie flick called Jigsaw, and that’s indicative of his musical sweep.


“The way I perceived the album was kind of cinematic. Enough contrast within collages and the flow to make you feel like you’re listening to a continuous, 30-minute song. The songs are slow and hushed, but overall there’s enough dynamism between tracks, I hope, to keep you going.”


The album has another strong hook: its cover, a grainy colour photo of a preteen Goldman and a female relative, both in bright, 1980s sportingwear. They appear to be stopping for beachfront ice cream on their way to the roller disco.


“People assume it’s my sister,” says the dark-haired singer, who recently turned 31. “But it’s my cousin. I think there’s a strong theme of childhood in the record. ‘Pacific Sun’ is a recollection of experiences with my brother, reconciling our relationship now. Childhood is a mine—full of gems, but also the other kind of mine. Art is the result of self-scrutiny, and I went through some stress making this record. It was kind of brutal, to tell you the truth. Writing songs is a way to bring everything down to earth for yourself and other people. But I feel this music is also quite playful, and even downright funny at times, done with a kid’s sensibility, a sense of wonder. If I’m happy with something, it’s something I’ve never heard before.” - Dan Goldman writes the soundtrack of childhood


"Monday Magazine, Victoria"

Exploring music's minutiae with Dan Goldman
by Greg Pratt (Monday Magazine, Victoria, BC; August 18-24, 2005)

Toronto-based guitarist-vocalist Dan Goldman is a man who understands that great music is all about subtelty. His time spent working with other alternative Candadian artist-types as Veda Hille and Mia Sheard, as well as playing with indie rockers Maps of the Night Sky, has certainly helped. But it is his solo work that has given him the greatest insights into the idiosyncrasies that turn good music into excellent music.

Sometimes I get stuck on a few pivotal seconds of a song," explains Goldman, referring to the Rufus Wainwright CD he's listening to. "Levon Helm of The Band is at the drums, and there's one specific fill that fits so tightly with Rufus' vocal line that it slays me everytime. I think it's these tiny musical spots that are just so intuitive, so unselfconcious that, at the heart, inspire my whole musical quest."

"I can think of a series of examples to tell you about that have propelled me," he continues. "There's one spot in Joni Mitchell's 'Refuge of the Roads' where her voice cracks. At that moment, and to quote Leonard Cohen, 'There is a crack in everything -- That's where the light gets in.' These are moments of pure magic, pure joy."

For Goldman, finding those cracks and letting the light shine through them has become not only part of his musical quest, but an aspect of his live shows that always keeps people guessing. Goldman has been known to utilize unorthodox aspects of the room he's playing in to his advantage -- his favorite instance of this involves an unlikely duet with a cappucino machine.

"I was at a break in a phrase and the cappucino maker at the back of the room started making that intense frothing sound," he explains. "It just happened to be climbing in pitch, so I let it go for a few seconds before jumping back into my phrase. The machine's voice became part of the song."

And the more Goldman tours as a solo artist, the more he enjoys playing with the idea of the room and the music intertwining. "I like being open to sounds in the room that just happen; it's sort of like the law of least resistance," he concludes. "Since I'm a relatively quiet performer, it wouldn't make sense for me to rail against those uncontrollable factors. And besides, it's a lot of fun to improvise with my surroundings -- to have the room become my band." - It's all about the little things


Discography

Through A Revolution (2004)
Luxury Pond - Self-titled (2009)

Photos

Bio

luxury pond is the songwriting project of Toronto-based musician, Dan Goldman. On this self-titled release, the live band, which includes himself and Daniela Gesundheit (aka Snowblink) has grown to include the St.Kitts String quartet, arranged by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), and Ryan Driver on analog synth.

The duo has recently completed an extensive cross-Canadian tour, pairing up with new friends Jay Crocker, Chris Smith, Tanya Davis, Sarah Hallman, Baby Eagle and Paper Beat Scissors along the way.

In addition to writing and performing his own material, Dan plays regularly with Snowblink, Great Aunt Ida and Metal Kites. He's also been a member of the Mia Sheard band, Justin Haynes Band, Tusks, Maps of the Night Sky, Breaking Sounds, and Kitchenmusik.

He's created music for modern dance choreographers Jenn Goodwinn, Sara Doucet, Louis Laberge-Cote and Kathleen Rea as well as multi media producer/architect Filiz Klassen.