Currently based in Austin, Texas, Michael Garfield uses his acoustic guitar and effect pedals to create a psychedelic world of sound. His latest release, Golden Hour: A Cyberacoustic Summer Daydream, is a collection of live improvisations taken from three different concerts.
The overall mood of the album is pensive and laid back, although Michael usually keeps an underlying pulse throughout the music. He also puts his effects to good use, creating a vast array of colors and constantly varying them.
“Heat Shimmer” starts the album out with a lone guitar playing harmonics through a filter, which is soon joined by a complimenting bass line, fingersnaps, and a slide guitar melody, among other things.
I really liked “You’re in My Self-Portrait”, with its sliced percussive rhythms and overlapping melodies. Of all the tracks, it’s the most song-like while still being a good representation of what the whole album is all about.
Honestly, this album feels more like a DJ-Set than a guitar album, and this may be a good or bad thing depending where you’re coming from. For me, while having some wonderful moments, it meanders a bit at some points, which is a common complaint for live improvised album. Still, the good moments make it totally worth it. I found myself getting lost in the music a lot, often forgetting I was listening to one guy playing guitar!
At the same time, this is music with a certain mood, and your frame of mind will affect how much you enjoy it. Michael gives some advice on the topic: “As you can tell from the album and track titles, it’s best for late afternoon, early evening, hot weather, long shadows, maybe by the water…”
You can buy Golden Hour on Michael’s Bandcamp page. Be sure to check out his other releases as well. He’s definitely a unique voice in the world of solo acoustic guitar.