YouTube, the globally popular video streaming website, was established in 2005, 11 years after the Seattle group Climax Golden Twins was formed. The first traceable videos of the band are almost from that date. It´s fair to say that the band’s adventurous spirit did not end in experimenting with music; they were doing so with videos and uploading them ten years ago too.
This Brainwashed.com piece is perhaps the most explanatory video of the band in which founding member Robert Millis is interviewed. He talks about the beginnings of the group, their record collection, and how and why they started working with Scot Colburn. They also perform live, switching instruments, sampling music and playing guitar-driven songs with vocals. The best video to see first and get a glimpse at the idea behind the band.
The oldest Climax Golden Twins video on YouTube is from an account called Muang Sing and features the following description: “Climax Golden Twins perform their most recent classic I F***ked Chopin“. The short video might look like a very common cell phone-recorded rehearsal session, but remember we´re talking 10 years ago, and this was by no means a common thing. Another sample of how deeply into experimentation these musicians are.
Another old video is one that shows the band playing full-on distorted rock in a noisy post-punk instrumental track. The performance is very physical and far away from the band´s usual sound palette. The video description reads: “…that horse is going crazy” filmed at Seattle’s SS Marie Antoinette in fall 2006. They rock on two guitars and a drum kit (one of the guitars is a heavily distorted acoustic), a great sample of how powerful this band can be.
Alan Bishop, AKA Uncle Jim, provides the words and face for this next set of videos made to promote their 2007 album 5 Cents A Piece which you can sample here. This was innovation for the time, when nobody was doing internet promotion through YouTube. The character played by the Sun City Girls’ former bass player and vocalist reminds the viewers of a mix between the character Old Bull Lee in the American novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and writer Hunter Thompson. In the videos, Uncle Jim breaks records, activates a fire extinguisher and speaks with a cigarette in his mouth about how great the Climax Golden Twins and their new record are. It´s a four-piece delivery, here´s episode one.
This following one is not a band´s video but a fan´s video for the song “I’m a Comin’ Lord, I’m a Comin”, from their Highly Bred and Sweetly Tempered album, and it shows a more acoustic and chilled version of the band. It´s a mellow song with some sounds from a recording and the characteristic Lo-Fi hiss. There´s also a slide guitar recorded and some weird vocals in the form of a dialogue. Another fascinating demonstration of diversity from these talented musicians.
This following video is a great sample of what this band does in a live performance, and one of the few they play without a drum kit on stage. The ambient music driven by delays and a minimalistic approach to sampling with no vocals is a clear proof of the experimental nature of their music. It was recorded live 2009 and it has three parts making up for a total of 25 minutes or so. There are moments of complete silence during the performance as part of the music expression itself which is both bold and innovative.
The original soundtrack for the movie Session 9 was completely created by Climax Golden Twins, and is a very minimalistic approach with few keyboard lines and mostly ambient music. The movie is an American Independent horror film from 2001, directed by Brad Anderson and the musical scenery proposed by the band is a great match for the suspense and the tension generated by the characters in the movie. It features sudden changes with disruptive noises and an overall dark, low-key horrifying sound texture that makes it a terrifying experience in itself.
A track from their hugely acclaimed 2001 self-titled album, known also as The Rock Album, featuring more of a song-friendly noisy band that granted them some followers from the math-rock and prog-rock scenes. It´s a great example of how to create a song using non-traditional methods, and still fit in almost five minutes of hypnotic sounds.
The most recently dated video available in YouTube from the band is from their Locations series. It features a more beat-oriented selection of music that gets lost in a deep spiral of drumming sounds and the harmonic line is very minimalistic, if any. The ambience is generated by vinyl noises of an album playing, but do not interfere or modify the music piece itself except for the end that´s taken over by what seems to be a dialogue in a foreign language.