While he’s been working out highly regarded self-released albums for a few years now, Gems and Minerals marks Stefan Beck’s first work for an outside source, arriving via cassette for Inner Islands. Pushing his mixture of pastoral kosmiche and rustic folk towards a pinnacle, the album is one of Beck’s most affecting yet. With fingerpicked runs trickling throughout, the Colorado songwriter melds lap steel, electric mandola and watery synths alongside the occasional hues of his partner Sara’s cello work. The resulting album is a restorative bubble, an embryonic chamber of calm with a cosmic heartbeat.
The album shifts seamlessly and its malleability is its greatest asset, haunting the corners of ambient country one moment, folk-blues another, and aligning its focus quite often with the pastoral hues of pre-prog German progressive like Ash Ra Tempel and Witthüser & Westrupp. Through it all the album maintains its wistful hue, a yearning that maps the sunrise in resplendent washes of pale orange and purple. While others often turn towards the dry rustle of autumnal strings, Golden Brown continues to find his home in the more humid reaches of the psychedelic spectrum.
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