The Epiphysis Foundation has announced the latest full length release from David Garland. ‘Conversations with the Cinnamon Skeleton‘ makes use of its components the way a gallery shows its works: sounds, words, instruments and guest musicians each feature as distinct and respected pieces. Woven together, these varied parts form hued structural songs that refigure the experimental New York sound into songs that have a sleeves-up accessibility. Garland’s baritone is a compassionate guide that accompanies listeners through studied verses into addictive choruses.
You can download the single ‘Splinter Heart’ here. Woodwinds, bells and concertina muse on the song’s melody, trying out variations and putting on show the possibilities of sound. All the while, a trio of banjo, bass and drums confidently carries the tune with a backyard grace, enabling the melody to be experimental while cohesive.
This confidence to combine the avant garde with everyday musical tactics reflects Garland’s engaged knowledge of both underground and aboveground music scenes. Garland has been recording and releasing records since the 1970s, including his most recent release ‘Noise in You’ (2007). Since 1987 he has produced and presented the show Spinning on Air for NPR and WNYC, for which Garland features musicians for in-studio performances and interviews.
Sean Lennon said of ‘Conversations with the Cinnamon Skeleton’
‘If it’s not possible for popular music to reach the heights of the great classical masters, it seems no one has told David Garland. Garland has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary composers. Like many great songwriters before him, he pushes the limits of acceptable harmony and dissonance, yet never at the expense of beauty. He is able to take the listener through what might otherwise be quite perplexing musical architecture, and guide them along as if floating effortlessly on a cloud. ‘Conversations with the Cinnamon Skeleton’ is clearly the result of a lifetime spent investigating the relationship between notes and chords and words. The fact that Garland is not more known is an indication that much of the world has forgotten why it is we make and listen to music in the first place.’ – 2010
Van Dyke Parks wrote of ‘Conversations with the Cinnamon Skeleton’
“I’m most impressed by the sonic surprises. The lyrics’ detachments suspend the listener in new time and space, the auditory epiphanies reached by going beyond conventional instrumentation are so way far beyond the ho & hum. How such abstractions can charm and amuse is simply through talented exploration. Yes, I was charmed and amused. Congrats on bringing this album such balance.” -2010
Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier noted
“[David Garland’s music] was a big help for me in trying to formulate my own song style, just as Deerhoof was about to start.” -2009