Gardens & Villa burrowed into the Key Club's retro-themed studio and living space, only leaving the facility five times over the next month. The disconnect between Santa Barbara's familiar sunny beaches and Michigan's snow-covered lakeshore led to the group's creative unraveling in the studio. The band lost track of the hours, days, and weeks as blinking analog machines captured the intense journey. In the process, Dunes was poured through Sly Stone's original custom-built Flickinger recording console.
With just a week left before deadline, Gardens & Villa sought a brief refuge from the studio where their progress had stalled. They went on a trip, traversing winding roads past frozen tundra and barren trees and into the wilderness of the nearby state park's tall dunes. The group climbed to the top and collapsed into a combination of sand and snow. Simultaneously reminded of home as well as their distance from it, their jaws dropped as they turned to see Lake Michigan's majestic and surreal expanse stretching toward the horizon. Supported by Goldsworthy's guidance, the band went back to the studio and ultimately emerged with a record beaming with dystopian energy, subconscious lyrics, and uncompromising sincerity. Lynch has seamlessly integrated his bansuri flutes and Rasmussen has fleshed out his looming synths alongside shades of '80s cult films soundscapes that lurk just underneath the songs in an unnoticeable-yet-omnipresent fashion. Like the awe-inspiring clarity of sitting atop Michigan's dunes, the band's forthcoming record shares a clear and evocative vision of where Gardens & Villa's members have traveled, what they've learned, and what lies ahead.
(SC294 released: 02/04/14)