Ethan Gold, underground LA songmaker and music artist, is preparing the second part of his Earth City trilogy of albums about modern life — the longing for human connection, for love and thrill in the city, and for connection to nature.
Raised in San Francisco in the long hangover of the hippie era, Gold is the son of the “oldest living beatnik” novelist Herbert Gold and single mother Melissa Dilworth, a WASP child of the East Coast who was then killed in a helicopter crash along with her boyfriend the iconic rock impresario Bill Graham. Both the artistic sensibility and the trauma of this unique childhood can be felt in Gold’s work, which blurs the confines of labels and genre. His intelligence and innocent darkness, mysterious and laced with existential distress, has been compared with classic songwriters John Lennon, Lou Reed and Syd Barrett, as well as with composers Vangelis and Hans Zimmer.
Gold first made waves producing and arranging Elvis Perkins’ influential folk-revivalist album Ash Wednesday and moonlighting as bassist in downtown New York band The Honey Brothers which featured his brother Ari Gold on ukulele and Entourage actor Adrian Grenier on drums. Gold quit his sideman work to step behind the mic and release his much-lauded debut Songs from a Toxic Apartment (“Best New Music” – Sunday Times London) which was a deeply personal work confronting childhood trauma and the sexual ambiguity of adulthood. After a head injury sidelined him for some years, he returned with the naive electronic album Expanses (Teenage Synthstrumentals) (“Wildly diverting” – Electronic Sound), a mostly 80s live covers record Live Undead Bedroom Closet Covers (“Unhinged but weirdly compelling” – Uncut), and several film scores including the jazz-inflected The Song of Sway Lake, featuring artists John Grant and The Staves singing Ethan’s songs, and the glitchy Blumhouse/Universal thriller Don’t Let Go.
Gold’s injury stopped his performing for several years, but he found his way back to the stage, initially in the burgeoning live poetry scene of the east side of Los Angeles. His poetry has been published in Tablet, Telephone, and elsewhere. Today Gold lives and dreams songs, now writing over half his music while asleep. Through a long recovery, he now credits the temporary breaking of his cognitive ability with a clarified mission to bring caring about the world back into the world. Or, as he said with irony, “Make sensitivity cool again.”
Several singles were released from the introspective Earth City 1: The Longing, including “Our Love is Beautiful” which arrived with a video of hundreds of people around the world delivering Ethan’s song for human unity in this time of fear and separation. This and another single “Pretty Girls” garnered uncommonly heavy airplay for an indie artist in the US and on RadioEins in Berlin, where Gold then relocated while finishing Earth City 2. The first songs from the upcoming album are slated for release later in 2023, songs which will surely be the kind of anthemic lullabies for tender souls Gold specializes in, with the composer’s sensibility that he brings to all his music, but this time around with a collective and energized spirit.