“Garland is a superb, crazily imaginative songwriter. Singing through a synclavier or banging on a piece of Styrofoam, he’ll sing about how insane the nightly news is, how painful true love is, how scary getting to know other people is, and it all quietly creeps up and hits you right where you live.”
—Kyle Gann, Village Voice
Upon first meeting David Garland a decade ago in NYC, what moved me most was the man’s remarkable voice. David has what I’ve often referred to as an “NPR voice”: calm, gentle, assured, reflective of a deep and kindly intelligence. I could happily listen to him recite the phone book, or Goodnight Moon, or Nietzche’s “Wahnbriefe” for hours on end. It’s no coincidence that he hosts and curates one of my all-time favorite radio shows, WNYC’s Spinning on Air. (If you have any interest in off-the-beaten-path, non-commerce-driven music, you should bookmark that link immediately.)
Photo by Anne Garland.
David’s also a gifted singer/composer, infusing his “control songs” with all of the qualities mentioned above. He’s been keeping busy recording new material with everyone from Sufjan Stevens to Greg Saunier to Diane Cluck. Catching up with me by phone recently, he said he’d just finished shooting his first music video with none other than Amber Benson and Adam Busch. (SQUEEE!!) Here’s what David had to say about the events leading up to their collaboration:
My wife Anne Garland and I had been introduced to the joys of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by our son Kenji in the summer of 2007. Anne and I were happily working our way through the many seasons of Buffy, and had just recently seen Amber’s character Tara killed by Adam’s character Warren. We went out to an Indian restaurant for lunch and waiting in line just ahead of us were Amber and Adam. We got talking, learned of Adam’s band Common Rotation, and enjoyed one another’s company. We’ve done a few projects together since, and now this video. Adam and Amber are creative, generous people, apparently willing to get involved in a project just for the fun and love of it, and I’ve really enjoyed hanging out and making stuff with them. Amber really likes Anne’s Luminous Playhouse photos, and suggested the effective idea of mixing and comparing the miniature and full-size scenes as a visual theme for my song “Diorama.” We borrowed a super-8 camera from Ken Brown and in two intense afternoons shot the footage, Amber and Adam co-directing and filming.
David, it’s an honor and a pleasure to premiere that video here on Coilhouse. Thank you, as always, for your wise and beautiful voice.
Diorama from David Garland on Vimeo. Directed, filmed and edited by Amber Benson and Adam Busch. David Garland’s songs “Prelude” and “Diorama” from the album Noise In You on Family Vineyard. Featuring Anne Garland’s Luminous Playhouse Theater Company. Singers: David Garland, Diane Cluck, Sufjan Stevens, and Mira Romantschuk. Appearing in the film are David Garland, Kenji Garland, his friend Aurora Cobb, Viking Moses (Brendon Massei), Golden Ghost (Laura Goetz), and Anne Garland.
More Garland-related clips, links and images after the jump.
The Garland family performing live with Common Rotation at the wonderful Monkey Town collective in Brooklyn.
Some of Anne Garland’s Luminous Playhouse photographs:
“Walk in the Woods #4”
DG performs “Furniture” from his album Noise In You.