♫♪  Joseph Allred - Nightsongs / Aspirant

Michael Potter’s Garden Portal Almanac on Already Dead was a masterpiece, a collision of dynamic imagination and inventive construction. It’s no wonder, then, that the NULL|Z0NE label head has decided to latch on to his best work as a title for his new endeavor: the Garden Portal label, a conduit — no, no, a portal for likeminded experimentalists with a flair for the dramatic and innovative.

Good start, then, to grab Joseph Allred for the roster. Not content to simply release a cassette by Allred and call it a day, Potter has signed up the erstwhile folkster for TWO releases to kick off his label’s existence. What’s great about them is that they couldn’t be more different, the two tapes representing two sides of Allred all while remaining part of his singular vision. Nightsongs finds Allred on acoustic 6- and 12-string guitar, spinning virtuosic yarns, including a rendition of Arvo Pärt’s “Für Alina,” by a dying campfire beneath the Milky Way long into the night. Aspirant sees him trade his guitars for, among other things, harmonium, parlor organ, Casio keyboard, and, well, guitars (which are still there, although relegated to a supporting player). Imagine the same late-night vibe under the stars, except for this one Allred’s had to lug out a whole lot more equipment to the campsite, including a generator for the electronic gear. But it’s worth it! Sink into dreams…

Notice something different? The garden has shifted around you, and topiary archways now open to passages leading who-knows-where. Allred’s magic is heady, and a haze descends upon your eyes, softening the glow of your surroundings. This is how it’s supposed to be, with endless possibilities awaiting at the other end of each portal. Which will you choose? Where will you go?

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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