Ottowa-based musician Garrett Warner recently released Summer Songs.
The entire project was recorded over a three-week span during the late summer of 2016. I should also mention that Summer Songs was recorded in Warner’s bedroom with the exception of, “A Short Story (Freedom).” The reason I say this is because Warner’s first release under his own name sounds very studio-esque, as it’s remarkably mixed and mastered to sound like a high-budget product.
Production aside, this album has a lot going on. For one, each of the five songs really bring their own personality to the table.
“529” is a prog rock ballad that takes on a sudden shift halfway through, as the time signature switches from 5/4 to 9/4 - hence the name, “529.” Indeed, the title is clever. The music itself, however, supplies the majority of the impressiveness, as Warner shreds guitar solos throughout the second half of the song, subtly drawing inspiration from classic and math rock.
“Ocean’s Void” is another standout song on the album. It’s the fullest sounding track to me, as Warner invites guitarist Shane Calkins to slay a guest solo. The name is especially appropriate because the fullness of the synths, chimes and drums illustrate the darkest depths of a blue ocean. The song is an underwater exploration, really, made complete with changing tides and scenery.
The emotional peak on the album lies within the fourth song “A Short Story (Freedom).” Warner channels a mood of melancholic solitude on this track, as he gives a plain and simple piano performance that leaves you dozing at the wall wondering where your life is going to go from here. The track most sounds like a sample that a lo-fi hip-hop producer would use to create a lonely, yet hopeful sound.
Warner put on an impressive performance here, literally. He even told us that a lot of this album was improvised when recorded with the exception of the foundation of some songs. From here, I’m wondering if Warner will invite a vocalist to feature on his next project or even if he would dabble in singing. His instrumentals will throw you curveballs at every turn, however some vocals could give his music even more structure and personality.
This album will throw a lot of emotions and genres at you, but you won’t ever feel like it’s too much. In fact, you’ll find that this young and ambitious musician really has a hold on what it means to be just right.
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