News of the collaboration between the ghostly singer-songwriter Ilyas Ahmed and the experimental drone duo Golden Retriever didn’t come as a surprise: the three men have been friends for years. But catching an early set by the appropriately named project—Dreamboat—as part of 2012’s MusicfestNW sent this writer reeling when they melded their musical minds together in gorgeous, earth-shaking fashion.
Playing at The Old Church, the three teased out a 40-minute set that matched Ahmed’s quiet 12-string guitar and reverb-heavy vocals with the undulating waves of Matt Carlson’s modular synth and Jonathan Sielaff’s heavily processed bass clarinet tones. It felt the psychedelic experience writ large, filling the mind’s eye with bold primary colors and a thick coat of mist.
“I don’t mean this in a boastful way,” Ahmed says, “but there’s nothing I can place my finger on to describe what it sounds like. With bands now, a lot of times there’s a really digestible reference point. It sounds like the Stooges or garage rock with a capital G. But friends of mine that I’ve played our stuff for or who have seen us, tell me they haven’t heard anything like it.”
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