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Loud Fast Lady with Caldera Lakes

Loud Fast Lady talks with the experimental duo about their long-distance collaboration and other forces of nature

By Beverly Bryan
Published: September 18th, 2009

Musical experimenters Eva Aguila and Brittany Gould are equally surprised and enchanted by the beautiful noise they’ve been making together as Caldera Lakes. The two perform and record separately as Kevin Shields and Married In Berdichev, respectively, but Caldera Lakes seem to have captured their imaginations. When they talk about it, the experimental music project starts to sound like a fairytale romance.“She comes from a totally different [musical] background than me. When I first met her I didn’t think that she would like noise music. But then she bought something from me,” Aguila says of Gould. Aguila runs an intermittent tape label called Hate State and usually hand-crochets the covers for each release. On one of their first meetings, Gould bought a compilation from Aguila consisting of six tapes attached to a small, latch-hook rug. “The only people who would usually buy something like that are crazy, raw noise fanatics that just buy everything. I was like ‘This girl’s not going to listen to this music.’ Two years later we’re in a band together,” she says with amusement.

That band is a testament to the creative potential in the union of opposites. Both artists use non-traditional instruments, but after that, their approaches diverge. As Kevin Shields, Aguila runs bits of audio tape through an obsolete film editing device. She adds distortion or delay and patches it into her mixer, which she also uses as a source of feedback. It sounds like an extended-play jet crash. Gould’s sound, on the other hand, is atmospheric, often involving actual melody. Like Aguila, she uses a mixer and pedals, but her own voice is her primary instrument. Using a loop station as a sampler, she records herself live and turns snippets of her vocals into the beats.

As Caldera Lakes, they’ve combined forces and added distorted zither and bells to the tonal mix. Gould’s voice humanizes Aguila’s roiling sonic chaos — even as said chaos boils over into infernal eruptions. Their name reflects this meeting of violence and loveliness. “It means a lake that formed inside of a volcano; so there’s this really sort of serene feeling to it, but volcanoes are really destructive at the same time,” Aguila muses.

But it’s geography more than anything else that makes Caldera Lakes an unexpected collaboration. Gould lives in Denver, and the project began when Aguila, who has since moved to Portland, Oregon, lived in her native L.A. They got to know each other on tour stops in one another’s cities, but never played together before March 2008, when Aguila impulsively invited Gould to join her for a European tour. On a further impulse, they decided to play together as one act.

The duo practiced for a year, playing shows in Denver and L.A. before going on a U.S. tour. “She came to L.A. for like a week, and we just recorded. It was all improvised, but so much of the stuff that’s recorded came out of that one week,” Aguila explains. “I think we felt the same way; that it was magical somehow. It wasn’t like we were jamming. We both knew what we were doing. We had this intuitive thing going on together.” Gould expresses the same excitement about the first time they played together. “It was exactly what I wanted to be making, because I can’t do all that by myself. I’d never met anybody that I wanted to play music with like her.”

United by a love of mixer feedback, the two catalyze one another in way that makes their long-distance band worth the trouble. Says Aguila, “I really love Caldera Lakes because it combines all that poppy stuff with really abrasive noise elements. And that makes it more dynamic. Brittany helped me to move on to this other level that I don’t think I would have been able to get to on my own.” Gould mirrors Aguila with her own thoughts. “I wanted my stuff to display a harshness that I never could do. And she wanted something more melodic, and her gear wouldn’t do that for her. It seemed to work so naturally, which is why we’re willing to put in the time and money to go see each other.”

Gould studies fine art and printmaking in Denver, but says she will consider moving to Portland after she graduates in the spring in order to pursue Caldera Lakes. “Some people can collaborate by sending tracks through email, but we can’t do that. We have to be in each other’s presence. Everything is based on improvisation, and playing together and being there together is totally magic. We’ll record and we’ll listen to it later on, and we’ll be like, ‘How did this work out so perfect?’” Gould concludes. That’s right, they both said “magic.” Caldera Lakes may be a rare case of a long-distance relationship with long-term potential.


Caldera Lakes – Caldera Lakes [Død Univers]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Caldera Lakes are back! It has been a little while since the duo dropped 3 great tapes on Deathbomb Arc, 905 Tapes and Blackest Rainbow and an even better CDr on Sentient Recognition Archive. Fine young upstart, Død Univers, did a nice job enshrining the tape in a package that’s translucent through and through.
The first of two pieces on the first side is “Contained Etherealness.” It’s a clunky title to be sure but, on the other hand, it’s pretty darn accurate. What has always made Caldera Lakes so interesting is the interplay between harshness, presumably supplied by Eva Aguila (who operates as Kevin Shields, the finest harsh noise artist around,) and trippy beauty which I am assuming comes from Brittany Gould’s (a.k.a. Married in Berdichev) end of the bench. The piece shivers and quivers, with Aguila’s trademark blips and shudders gliding ominously underneath, but it is really the glowing tones of Gould’s voice that dominate, glistening and cascading across the piece. Rainsticks and reversed guitar hang around, but it really is all about the voice flowing into every nook and cranny and then how Aguila tastefully provides more confrontational counterpoints throughout. It’s a piece that grows more and more gorgeous each time I listen to it. Though Aguila played things pretty soft on “Contained Etherealness,” she gets her revenge on “Undefined.” Heavy static rips through speakers initially, before Aguila fights to peel it back revealing Gould’s mystic vocal melody and patient chiming bell. The noise teeters back and forth trying to contain its rage and frustration, grinding thunderously like the stuck ignition of a hurricane. Gould is up for it and attempts to sing above the din but carnage already has this song in it’s back pocket and ain’t giving it up.
“The Rune Escape” expands over the duration of side B. A series of bells jangle continually against soft but uneasy tones and unstable crackles. The duo keeps us in suspense, do we have another “Undefined” on our hands or a “Contained Etherealness”? Or something different altogether? Probably the last option, I’d say. The duo is built around aural texture but this seems more textural than usual. Or maybe it’s that there are just a lot more textures at work at once in the piece. There are no vocals for a long time. It’s clatter headed from two opposing arenas, acoustic and electric, somehow bonded together. As Gould’s voice enters, she doesn’t sing so much as speak and far to hazily to be intelligible. Aguila’s electronics exhibit signs that something just isn’t quite right on this spacecraft providing split second signal interruptions that seem to cause the rest of the sounds to hold their breath. And the Lakes go 3 for 3!
Caldera Lakes have definitely developed since I last heard them. Past releases featured two opposing aural personalities that wrestled constantly and dynamically and I loved it. This release finds the two integrating tenuously and I love it. Gould and Aguila continue to do no wrong, and more importantly, they continue to do something that no one else can.
This tape is absolutely worth grabbing, particularly if you’ve never heard this duo at work. This being it’s second release, Død Univers has made a statement, putting a lot into creating this unusually fitting package for these otherworldly sounds. I’m looking forward to what both Caldera Lakes and Død Univers throw at us next.



Caldera Lakes, “Caldera Lakes” tape
By Mike Pursley – January 5, 2011

What a beautiful package: clear and DVD-sized, sporting an evolutionary diagram. It’s a handsome frame for this Caldera Lakes release, which, in keeping with their practice, weaves cooing vocals into hermetically charged nests of shifting noise.Side A opens with “Contained Etherealness,” a piece for rain stick, banjo, tape noise, and trembling guitar.  It forms a heavy, electro-forest haze reminiscent of an early Animal Collective release.  The vocals and sounds make two distinct layers, superimposed to make a composite image.

“Undefined,” with its blades of helicoptering clatter and power electronic detonations, is the more ominous track of side A.  There are distant voices and a tingsha that sounds slowly, giving the song a ritualized feel.

Side B consists of a single track, “The Rune Escape.”  Bells and chimes form a pagoda-like structure that absorbs sonic decay and spits it out twice mangled.  Spoken vocals are interred underneath, reminding me of Throbbing Gristle.  The extra space to really develop a single composition is wise.  It seems the longer you swim in these lakes the better the water feels.

død univers


Caldera Lakes [Review]

20 Dec 10 – Cassette, Review

The latest C30 from Caldera Lakes – the duo’s fourth tape in nearly as many years – captures the group’s hazy method in its very sound. With a similar biography, the pair veer slightly from the early works of Pocahaunted, and now find themselves in a less continuous musical space influenced by their noisier grammatical education (evoked quite literally in the rabble of the tape’s Semitic segue, “Undefined”). “Contained Etherealness” sounds exactly as the name implies, watery and asthmatic, placing a regular but un-tuneful melody over erased loops of light drones and pit-er-pat percussion; when the vocals arrives a vacated pleasantry, the track telescopes in depth as a the wispy curtain is offset by a resonant body, if as translucent as some Current 93 neophyte. Fittingly given the last reference, side B’s “The Rune Escape” is a sidelong (in the truest, non-teleological sense) séance of chimes, heavy bell, and spoke-hummed lyrics steeped in a high sea of static sizzle, glitched in the crudest sense. The rising vocals repeat a similar logic to the first side, cascading airlessly into a rough-edged analog deconstruction. In oversized clamshell with color transparency. 100 copies. A bold second release for the label. (død Univers cassette, $9 HERE)


Favorites of 2010: Covers

2010 was a year of album covers that refused to conform; many appeared either intelligently well designed or obnoxiously ugly. The following covers would be of the former variety. In no way does this reflect our opinions on the music that these covers represent, we just found these striking enough to make this list.


Caldera Lakes – Caldera Lakes (død univers, 2010) « Anti-Gravity Bunny (Posted November 29th, 2010)

I shouldn’t have to introduce Caldera Lakes, but since I haven’t written about them before I guess it’s somewhat necessary. Two chicks who make amazingly awesome music individually as Married In Berdichev and Kevin Shields come together and make extra amazingly awesome music as Caldera Lakes. They’ve put out stuff on top notch labels like SRA & Deathbomb Arc, with their newest self-titled bit of hushed creepybliss on newcomer død univers.Three tracks is all it takes for these girls to drown your sorrows in ghostly folk drone. The tape opens with “Contained Etherealness,” which, as lame a name as it is, provides a pretty apt description of what goes down. Highly restrained backwards guitar pulses with skittering shaman relics & nymphs whispering the secrets of the mist. A wispy trip into the twilight, forest adventures that result in nothing but mystery. The next track is wayyy darker and scarier. Harsh sounds that pierce through dark caves, dripping & twinkling from the fire pit, all while those goddamn sirens sing the beauty of the sun. Fucking intense.

The B side is one 15 minute piece that starts out with a miniature army of chimes, shimmering with a heart of gold. Some grinding static noise works its way in, like rustling leaves before a twister hits. An assortment of minimal electronic textures fade in and out while a faint voice recites incantations & candles flicker in the wind. Blood flows up into the sacred cup, smoke gets devoured by the fire, rain absorbed into the clouds, the ritual plays out in the middle of the night while the fabric of space expands & contracts.

Caldera Lakes are just interested in acquiring your soul through the process of mystic drone. No biggy. If you think you can handle that shit, I strongly recommend you nab this hot piece. Only 100 made, with some seriously killer packaging. An oversized clear book, with random scientific illustrations printed on vellum, and a transparent tape. SEXY.


Caldera Lakes is gonna be on tour after sxsw with Opéra Mort from France.  Check out the dates below!

  • Mon 3/21 The Know-Portland
  • Tues 3/22 The Hub-Sacramento w/Derek Monypeny
  • Wed 3/23 Hemlock -San Francisco w/Tecumseh and Derek Moneypeny
  • Thurs 3/24 Mama Buzz-Oakland w/Bank of Christ 7pm sharp!
  • Fri 3/25- Dem Passwords- Los Angeles w/ The Tenses
  • Sat 3/26-The Smell-Los Angeles w/Captain Ahab vs Kevin Blechdom, and Marklion
  • Sun 3/27- Kava Gallery-San Diego
  • Mon 3/28 Silver Tiger Estate -Oakland 2024 woolsey
  • Thurs 3/31 The Josephine-Seattle w/ Dried Up Corpse, Slates, Megabats
  • Fri 4/1 Dancemirror-Portland w/The Tenses 6108 SE 46th and WOODSTOCK

Caldera Lakes opening for Sonic Youth at the Odgen Theater in Denver, Colorado. Oct 4th, 2010.


Caldera Lakes will be at sxsw next year (March 2011).  Venues are still TBA but please keep a look out for updates.

Please contact us at if you are interested in having us perform at your showcase.


Caldera Lakes