Album: Duke Garwood: The Sand That Falls

Duke Garwood’s album is the first of this kind of music I have really paid attention to. What kind is it? Good question. From what I’ve heard I would call it a mix of folk, jazz, experimental and blues, but I would assume each listener has a different perspective.
On the first listen of this album, I have to say, I got a little lost. There is a lot of experimenting going on with a miss-mash of sounds which sometimes worked together brutally and sometimes beautifully. After listening a few more times however it’s technicality and improvisational sound appealed more and more.
The opening track ‘May I rumble’ is a moody little piece that makes you want to hear his life story. Which by the way I’ve found out a little about…According the writers in cyber space Garwood doesn’t remember anything between the ages of 13-17 due to illness. He then wondered around Asia playing guitar in a bar every night until the bar became “rotten”. Apparently he then tried his luck in France and returned to London after said luck ran out. He’s basically lived a life every tortured artist wishes they had. And it’s this life experience that makes the album worth listening too.
My favourite tracks were probably the ones with the less ‘random noises’ (which I’m sure makes me less intellectual somehow) such as ‘Reap the Many Fruits’ and ‘Deep in the Outside’. Even though each song is different, after a while they all blur into the same story.
If I had to describe the album in one word, I would use organic. It’s clear these songs have materialised via improvisation and playing with unconventional sounds, for example ‘Bare My Chest’ has what sounds like a cooker bell sounding every so often. This is the jazz influence, which is what separates Garwood from the regular guitar toting artist.
The final song and title of the album, ‘The Sand That Falls’ has almost no lyrics and a lot of drumming. It sounds as if he has got himself into a trance accidentally at the end of the album and kept it on because he liked how it played out.
This man is deep, and so is his album. For hardcore enthusiasts and intrigued parties only, but definitely worth a good checking out.

Words: Kat Nicholls