Golden Features is often touted as Australia’s next great deep house producer, but whilst he does use some of those signature melodies and vocals, he is much more firmly entrenched in the trap, wobble, and dubstep genres. Golden Features is the master of that shifting gear feel, the locomotive swing where the last movement is the quickest, creating a sense of building intensity.
You can see the influence of forerunner and other modern Aussie great, Flume. It’s a continuation of that original sound that is post-dubstep, and influenced by the trap movement in hip hop, which finds a more natural home in dance music. Golden Features is in some ways more progressive than Flume, with a more dark and cavernous sound, but also has commercial appeal, with some obvious deep house sensibilities and a love for pretty vocals. He has also done away with some of the irregular time signatures that some people find difficult and alienating. He even has Flume’s same affinity with hip hop. In 2012, long before the release of his first album, I had seen Flume play at the exact same venue and from his remixes alone recognized that he was onto something special. Seeing Golden Features in the same spot, with that same wide-eyed fan base was complete déjà vu.
The crowd were completely familiar with the artists two EP’s, only released within the last 15 months, and were most receptive to his original music. The iPhone cameras all came out for the standout track Tell Me, which is maybe most illustrative of his unique sound – some smooth female vocals courtesy of Nicole Millar that’s strangled by a sinister reverberation throughout. It’s exemplary of his blend of the deep house and dubstep traditions. People were acutely aware that this was something they wanted to record for posterity. I was even impressed to hear people sing the lyrics to the infectious Telescope, no easy feat given the song can’t be found on YouTube, and lyrics haven’t found their way onto Genius.com yet. Of course the crowd responded strongest to the stunning No One which is both warm and menacing, and features amazing vocals from Indigenous singer Thelma Plum. Golden Features music is meant to be heard live, because it’s meant to be heard thumping. The room shook for the encore, Factory, a banging bass track.
The same can be said for the rest of his set. Golden Features plays that brand of Southern Rap that only comes to life when played loud in the dancehall setting. Brodinski’s Francois-Xavier sounds laughable on YouTube, but becomes absolutely brutal when it’s coming out of the sound system of the Prince Bandroom. He dropped other booming trap sounds like I Can’t Help Myself and Future’s 3500. It provided an opportunity for those on the dance floor who had managed to carve out some space for themselves to throw some big shapes.
In the style of SBTRKT or Daft Punk, Golden Features wears a solid gold mask obscuring his face. It’s just the kind of imagery that suits his dark sound and lends the act a bit of spectacle and mystery. It’s a gimmick that’s enigmatic, rather than tacky. He looked very at home on the big stage of the Prince Bandroom, and it’s the kind of performance that will benefit in the coming years from an even bigger lightshow.
As Australians have become increasingly discerning with their taste in dance music, Golden Features is bound to find a huge support base amongst his countrymen; who are ready for a home-grown producer making cerebral EDM. Even though his sound is blackhole dark, there’s little doubt he’ll enjoy a very bright future.