Michael Garfield – “The Body Electric”

The multi-talented Michael Garfield has released a new solo album The Body Electric, full of rhythmic acoustic guitar loops and dreamy interludes. It is experimental and unique, trying out new playing and recording techniques and variations on styles like slide guitar and finger picking, combining them with other ambient sounds and simple percussion to form complex compositions. Garfield is well known as a live painter, musician, essayist and speaker, with vast energies toward expression in any form. His artistic and intellectual courage, refreshing ideas and prolific production make him a key member of the community and the Lostinsound team, and this latest work shows great skill and potential as a guitarist and composer.

Patient in their construction and determined to stay in melodic but unpredictable territory, his tracks glide through seamless changes, sometimes climaxing, sometimes spiraling off into quiet grooves or gurgling swamp sounds. Eastern influences are heard in his lilting tunes, as well as southern/western American traditions. The spacey, modern edge brings the simple pluckings and cleverly produced sounds into an envelope in which anything seems possible, an aspect of great art becoming all too rare.

These “Cyber-acoustic loopscapes” represent some of Garfield‘s musical goals – layering simple elements to create rich melodies, manipulating the guitar and his pedals to squeeze never before heard tones from them. The twisting braids of sound he can generate with such a simple rig is incredible, as is the simmering energy that comes through even the quietest moments, a feeling of suspense that something you don’t wanna miss is about to happen. This inventiveness and the passion that drives all of the meticulous work that goes into such projects is evidence of a deep and interesting well of ideas. Better production will come with time and equipment, and collaborations with other musicians are sure to fill out his sound and vision. This is a great start though, and contains memorable, beautiful moments throughout. Check out the full Bandcamp page with free download and media links for the album at: Michaelgarfield.bandcamp.com/album/the-body-electric

His live sets show that he’s not getting lucky on the 20th take recording.. Calmly laying down loops and singing while playing challenging chord progressions, Garfield showcases his songwriting abilities casually but professionally. He’s raw and fearless all alone up there, and this comfortable vulnerability combined with his execution make him a very engaging performer. His openness and willingness to say and do things to see how they look and sound, to build and cultivate works of art from nothing, for nothing, sustained on the belief that the process is evolving positively, and willing it to, is what makes him such an inspirational artist and person. These are the carefully crafted musings of a great young mind, delicate and brave.

“The Sun Setting” & “Foyer” at Art Outside 2010 from Michael Garfield on Vimeo.

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