The beloved and bespectacled musical linguist who introduced many of us to the clocklike tones of her signature kalimba spent seven months hard at work on her debut full-length album. Laura Barrett‘s Victory Garden flourishes in all its symphonic majesty. As a follow up to the stripped down folk sounds of her Earth Sciences EP (released on PBR in February) Victory Garden is a sonic masterpiece incorporating the resonance of woodwinds, strings, brass and a range of percussive instruments. Laura calls on a talented ensemble of musicians to aid in making her musical fantasy world a reality: Basia Bulat on autoharp and vocals, Randy Lee (The Bicycles, Hylozoists and Lily Frost) on Violin, Jeremy Strachan (Feuermusik) on clarinet, Lief Mosbaugh (Hidden Cameras) on oboe and viola, John Tielli (Metal Kites) on Theremin and the list goes on.
Most notably, Paul Aucoin (of Hylozoists fame) lays down his whirring vibraphones; a perfect companion to Barrett’s modest kalimba and warm and nurturing voice. Aucoin is also credited for recording and mixing Victory Garden. Also featured on the 12-track album is Laura’s return to her piano playing roots. These rich melodies and intricate arrangements weave and wisp through Barrett’s lyrics, sweet and furious rants about technologies that divide and alienate. Laura Barrett’s music has taken root with Victory Garden and its fruits are abundant.
Laura says: “Victory Garden refers to two things: the general concept of a garden describes the rich symphonic mixture of sounds created by this more communal gathering of musicians, with the cover art illustrating that it is a more collective enterprise than my solo efforts.
Also, the title refers to the victory gardens of wartime, as we are seeing a move toward small-scale, more sustainable farming and agriculture, and we also see a world still embroiled in war and conflict that dedicates resources toward death and not life. The victory garden is a hopeful act, but carries with it cynicism about humanity’s development.