HWY-021: The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton by Clogs
“When trying to describe Clogs’ music to other folks, it might be better to forgo any genre distinctions and head straight for the thesaurus so you can find fresh and exciting ways to say ‘sublime.’”
“[There is] no question that the classical and indie realms can share a border where music turns pensive, knotty, and otherworldly.”
-New York Times
The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton is Clogs’ highly anticipated fifth album. It’s a song-cycle composed by Padma Newsome for Clogs with extensive vocal work from Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond. Other guests include Sufjan Stevens, Aaron Dessner and Matt Berninger of The National, and the Osso String Quartet.
Following Clogs’ critically-acclaimed Lantern (2006), The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton is their first album of songs after four primarily instrumental releases. The work was composed by member Padma Newsome during a 2005 residency at Giardini La Mortella sponsored by the Fromm Foundation. The Garden is a rich botanical paradise created by Lady Walton (the widow of the late British composer Sir William Walton) on the island of Ischia in Italy’s Bay of Naples. The album was recorded in stages in Brooklyn and Sydney during 2007-08 with another year and a half for mixing and finishing. It embodies some of the fortunate vagaries of creating music with four people in three cities on two continents, not to mention the cadre of additional musicians who brought their own presence of character to the project.
(If you'd like a complete understanding of what Clogs were working on and thinking during the Creatures period you should also check out the digital-only EPs Veil Waltz and Last Song, each of which offer a reflective look at the ephemera, the tidbits of ideas that somehow manifest themselves after being tucked away for a time. They contain is loops, instrumental grooves, contrapuntal play, cinematic scenes, and hints of songs. They speak of curious circumstances and reminisces on fickle moments. Veil Waltz is a prelude to Creatures, and Last Song is a coda.)
Clogs are four musicians from the United States and Australia whose work traverses time and place and through which seemingly disparate influences are seamlessly drawn in. They compose and improvise using sounds and textures from across the musical spectrum – the immediacy of folk and rock music, twisted Americana, the complexity of modern composition.
If instant gratification is more your speed, you can listen to some tracks from the album here:
Songs on The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton
1. Cocodrillo (ft. Shara Worden)
2. I Used to Do
3. One The Edge (ft. Shara Worden)
4. Red Seas
5. The Owl of Love (ft. Shara Worden)
6. Adages of Cleansing (ft. Shara Worden)
7. Last Song (ft. Matt Berninger)
8. To Hugo
9. Raise the Flag (ft. Shara Worden)
10. We Were Here (ft. Sufjan Stevens and Shara Worden)