Golden Pavilion:Bringing Back Lost Gems

Golden Pavilion Records is a new label that reissues rare and often overlooked late 60's and 70's psychedelic, progressive, library sound, acid-folk & art-rock music. Having a target to "make this music available to the discerning listener, as close as possible to its original format",their releases so far have pleased many record collectors worldwide by presenting great recordings on high quality vinyl in limited run. Some works with contemporary artists were also welcome.Founder Antonio Barreiros has more to say(and to do in the future) so keep reading.

What motivated you to start a label?

 Being very interested in vinyl records, especially worldwide psych, folk and progressive music from the late 60’s to the late 70’s, I came across innumerous obscure and little known gems that changed hands between avid collectors for hefty sums. Most of these records had never been reissued and in many cases little was known about the musicians behind it. So it came as a logical step to create a label that would primarily focus on reissuing long lost recordings. The motivation lay in the possibility of bringing back and preserving some of this music while sharing it with a wider audience.
When and how did it start?

 Golden Pavilion was formed in February 2010 and started with three simultaneous releases in June 2010.

Was it a financial struggle?

 Yes. Licensing and producing vinyl records with an attractive packaging isn’t exactly cheap and the turn-around can take some time, so it’s important to be very aware of all costs involved and to have a good idea of how a particular release will do in the market. 

What other labels influenced you?

 I always enjoyed the classic UK labels such as Harvest, Vertigo, Deram, Neon, Nepentha, Island... Most of what I heard was on these labels so, yes these labels influenced me. Also relevant was the artwork often elaborate and unique.

Who are your competitors?

 I hope no-one! Seriously I think there are some great people behind some great labels with a similar focus to Golden Pavilion but personally I never perceive them as competitors. We are all musical archeologists bringing out lost gems from the past, and together we leave a body of work which I wish to believe leaves an imprint in people’s choices. Not only the rediscovery of lesser known records from the Psychedelic and Progressive era, but also the joy of having and playing vinyl, made today, also and hopefully more and more, from contemporary bands.

Why the name?

 The name is a tribute to Yukio Mishima’s novel “The temple of the Golden Pavilion” which gives us a fictional account of the burning of the Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-Ji in Kyoto. In Mishima’s novel, the temple represented the height of beauty and in itself something unattainable to the main protagonist. To me Art is beyond the artist. It’s an expression that escapes him and that lives in its own realm. 

What’s your guiding principle?

In life or just the label? I would say you have to trust your instinct. And that applies to life in general!I always work better when my heart is in it, and this has been the case with each and every release. So I guess it sums it up: The guiding principle is to love what you do and discipline yourself. 

Can you sum up your label’s output ?

The first release was GINO PERTOT. A lost recording from the mid 70’s Austria. With a clear Nick Drake influence (and tribute) Gino recorded this album in a tumultuous period of his life and it also served as a turning point for him. It’s very Viennese in the fact that it dwells between dark undertones and an almost hopeless joyfulness. At the same time EXPERIENCIA (An unknown Portuguese band with a South American flavour in their music)  and DRAGON (A Belgian band who got overshadowed by MACHIAVEL and ended up releasing their album in the UK) were released.
 Then came PANTA REI (Sweden), UNIVERIAZEKT (who are none other than the mythical French band MAGMA), MARIO GARCIA (Brazil/Uruguay), ART BOYS COLLECTION (One of the rarest Austrian flower-power mod’ish LP’s), YVES RAKOTOMALALA (Originally from Madagascar but living in France, he recorded this in only 200 copies, sounding very much like a lost NEIL YOUNG recording),  and then the second DRAGON album (originally recorded only as a demo), Followed by a contemporary Russian band called VESPERO who gives us a breed of floating Space-rock with clear Krautrock undertones, Then LIFE (Sweden and one of the rarest from this country), BOB THEIL (in a newly designed gatefold cover including an exact replica of the rare EP) and PLUS (One of the funkiest recordings out of Belgium, that ranks right along PLACEBO, with some psychedelic and progressive touches as well).
  After this came the TIME WASTERS (a very obscure small release from the UK), followed by a brand-new MARK FRY recording (MARK FRY who recorded the legendary “Dreaming with Alice” in Italy), This was followed by the first ever blues record from Italy: THE BLUES RIGHT OFF, a band from Venice with the Danish guitarist CLAES CORNELIUS, and then EDITION SPECIALE, a groovy French progressive combo somewhere between the likes of YES, GONG and MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA). The rare Italian library recording by STEFANO TOROSSI called “Feelings” followed, best described as a jazzy-funk with a lounge feel, and just recently the elusive sole recording by the Swiss band called “HAND” as a 40th anniversary deluxe package. 

How important is the look and packaging of your records?

 It’s very important. I see many labels out there reissuing some legendary albums without much concern for the visual appeal.  It all starts with the quality of the image itself, the resolution and the colour balance. We always try to make an exact replica of the cover and usually produce an own design for the labels. The records are almost always shrink-wrapped and we use high quality covers and vinyl. When master tapes are available, we re-master the sound in a professional studio using a vintage Neumann VMS 70 / SAL 74B / SX 74 cutter head and avoiding, whenever possible, going through too much digitalization. 
Of which release are you the most proud?

I am particularly proud of releases that have brought a new awareness to the artists concerned. Gino for example, has picked up his guitar again and started composing some songs. Bob Theil has come together with some other musicians in Spain to record new material. The band “Plus” has seen a warm welcome of their music in Japan with a Japanese company releasing the same album on mini-lp.
What are your future plans for expanding the label?

 Recently I have been restructuring the Golden Pavilion concept and started a partnership with Seattle-based record label and distributors Light in the Attic. Furthermore all our releases are entirely produced in the US.

How do you survive through the years?

 How does anyone survive through the years..:)! I’m reminded of this sequence in Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” where Doctor Levy, a brilliant philosopher exposes his inspiring ideas and later on commits suicide leaving behind a simple note: “I’ve gone out the window”.To answer your question: This is primarily a labour of love. I would probably be better off selling oranges, yes, but this is what I love doing and I am convinced there is room for growth. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again. (..)There will be growth in the spring! (Being there)
     How do you find new acts?

  Sometimes it’s an accident, one band leads to another.. Sometimes friends recommend a project. Raven for example, a US band related to MICAH,  is one of my upcoming Spring releases and it was recommended by my good friend Tove in Norway. I had not heard of the band before and I think almost no-one must have heard of this recording since it remained unreleased for almost 37 years.  Some of the projects have been on my wish list for years, and some I just happen to stumble upon. I also do receive emails on a weekly basis from all kinds of bands searching for a label. Some of them are actually very good but don’t really fit the direction intended for the label.

Our next output, up until summer 2013, consists mainly of 4 albums. The first is a well kept gem of the Italian library scene. It’s called ARAWAK, and this will be our first record produced in association with Light in the Attic. The second is RAVEN, as I mentioned before. Then comes a fantastic US prog LP by PENTWATER and this will be followed by the loner folk record “Take me home” by BERT KEELY. Later in the year we will have a very special project which I cannot talk about for the moment, but this will be an unusual release to say the least. There are several other projects still waiting to be released and the list is growing constantly...

 (As told to High Fidelity Stories)
contact :www.golden-pavilion.com)

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