Singer/songwriter Jason Garriotte released his folk flavored acoustic EP Reflections of Reality this last February 2012. The album is supported with folk guitar stylings, his own vocals and sparse acoustic piano riffs. One year after the release of this EP, Gariotte announced the release of his two disc electronic folk project Chords of Truth Remixed. Garriotte teamed up with a slew of electronic music producers from around the world, and the result is a series of genre bending songs. The remixed album covers electro, industrial, dubstep and acid rock styles and hybridizes these genres with folk aspects.
As I wrote in a recent article for Audiofemme, one of my top electronic albums of 2012 was Re:Generation, a remix project that involved heavyweight electronic music producers who were challenged to work in a genre outside of their comfort zone. That same spirit of collaboration resides in Garriotte’s remix project, and I commend him for re-envisioning his music and embracing a production style outside of the boundaries of traditional folk music. Chords of Truth Remixed defies typical categorization, but may land somewhere in the realm of “folktronica.” With 14 different electronic music producers on board, the texture of each song varies, yet the ultimate vision of re-inventing Garriotte’s folk brand remains present throughout.
The most prominent aspect that anchors these songs to the folk tradition is Garriotte’s inherently folk influenced vocal style. He has a storyteller’s delivery and a unique vibrato effect that bring character to his voice. His lyric choices touch on material that bring listeners back to a time of singer/songwriters of the 60’s who sang of journeys and self discovery. Garriotte’s collaborators mined his songs for his most iconic folk style riffs and vocal lines, and set these ideas to club induced beats, bass wobbles, side chained synth pads, and many more classic house, techno and electro sounds. The repetitive club beat of songs like Tune Your Mind (Momentum Folkhouse Remix) lend themselves to the dance floor, and manage to transport Garriotte’s folk sounding vocals into a modern, refreshing context.
The collaborators on this album vary in their ability to inspire with creativity. The Power to be Alive (LORDBRET Progressive Remix) feels like a generic attempt at progressive club music, and does not capture the raw energy often associated with this genre. Moments (Oopoe Electrofolk Remix) on the other hand revels in the stripped down nature of Garriotte’s style, and enhances his musical ideas with subtle reverberations and an intuitively fitting beat. This album appeals to a variety of listeners who can appreciate a wide range of electronic styles.
Garriotte’s lyrics encourage listeners to search for deeper self awareness. The lyrics ask for an intellectual or existential interpretation at times, and typically, the lyric themes include questions about truth, history, and ideologies about existence. I appreciate Garriotte is searching for truth within his lyrics, but I find them too heavy handed at times. As the album progressed, I found myself wishing for a greater level of abstraction in his lyric writing. The lyrics at times are so literal in their explanation of the artist’s ideology that he leaves little to the imagination. The song Pop or Soda departs from the typical heavy subject matter to poke fun at colloquialisms and shows off Garriotte’s lighter side.
Jason Garriotte says of the project that “it is truly amazing how a different perspective on even a song can change almost every aspect of the experience. Imagine the impact a different perspective can have on our life/habits/beliefs if we just keep an open mind and consider the possibilities.” Reflections of Reality (Remixed Double LP) is due for release March 12, 2013.