Earlier this year, Garret Gleason hit us with a wave psychedelic fury with Niko Wood, and we’ve only just begun to recover from its strange, incendiary majesty. But it turns out, for Garrett, there was quite a bit of fretboard left to burn, and we’re all too happy to give readers an exclusive look at it below.
Gleason’s latest, Guitar Songs 2, is another formidable gallop through dense, unpredictable unknown, ranging from the traditional to the Fripp-esque avant garde – and there’s never a dull moment. From haunting loops and the conflagration of burning choir ensembles and glass airplanes, there’s a lot to get lost in.
Check out the exclusive stream of Guitar Songs 2 below.
Part of what makes the album such a joy is that you’re clearly listening to a person absolutely slaying their craft, and doing it on their own terms. These aren’t sample packs, and even if the guitar stems were to be distributed as such, few would have the wherewithal to intertwine them so effectively or to such emotive affect. You might catch a whiff of King Crimson here or Andrés Segovia there, but the sense of originality is constant. At no point do you feel like you’re not listening to Gleason’s innermost thoughts.
Check out this little synopsis on the record from the press release:
“While on tour as the guitarist of The SpongeBob Musical just before the pandemic, Garrett Gleason began creating a follow-up to his 2019 Guitar Songs EP. His only rule of the project remained consistent with the first release: all sounds, processed or not, must come from a guitar. Two years later, after a number of collaborations took precedence, the project was revisited with pieces to complete it…”
Who knew SpongeBob, of all things, would have inspired such results? The tracks are bristling with life throughout like insects in the woods. But then again, that sort of makes sense. Garrett’s collages of sound, spontaneously appear then combust with a sense of stoic discipline that somehow never weighs things down.
The post-everything pitter-patter of “Glass Plane Shatters Above” is one of our favorite otherworldly moments, presenting a brief cloud of respite. Despite the albums heap of calm moments, there is a tense, teaming energy throughout Guitar Songs II, and though it’s never angsty, moments on the jazzed-tinged “Palms Out” and the Teebs-meets-American Football sway of “The Obsession” hint at a relentless concentration and capacity for experimental structure.
“I was unsure when I would make a follow-up to the first Guitar Songs, as I had released it weeks before going on the SpongeBob tour. As soon as I was on the road, I realized that if I didn’t consistently make my own music, then I might get burned out or have an existential crisis from my musical life being just the same thing every day. At that point, the mission for the music had shifted from ‘What can I make guitar recordings do?’ to ‘Here’s a song I want to write. How can I make it happen with just the guitar?’ It forced me to problem-solve on the instrument in ways I hadn’t before while making songs that excite me.”
There have been a lot of adventures in loop land lately, and Garrett’s frolicking foray plants it firmly towards the top of the pile. If you’re looking for something a little Pat Metheny, but also a little Igloo Ghost, check this out. The album’s one downfall is that it doesn’t last ten times as long. Check out the rest of Garrett’s stuff here and warm our frozen faces up with some coffee here. Coming up we’ve got Yowie, Cheval de Frise, Martin Bisi, and more. Thanks for reading!