Hollywood-based singer-songwriter Jose Ferrer, better known as Boxwood, has earned a reputation for his uncommon performance approach, using a loop pedal to singlehandedly layer tracks live. But his second release, the EP Sun Garden City, leaves no doubt, the studio is his playground.
Which isn't to say you should expect frisky, frolicking tracks amongst the six-song recording, where he continues to play every instrument, and writes, produces and mixes each song. It's decidedly moody (not to be confused with dark). But there's also a certain sense of inherent playfulness running like a current through each atmospheric rendering that comprises Sun Garden City.
From the EP's onset with "Balance" to the closing six-minute "Trails," heavy-footed, bass drums and thundering floor toms drive the six-song set along, while reverb reigns and melodies are populated by a seemingly endless arsenal of constantly colliding and rollicking sounds, from fuzzy guitars to electronic effects. And all the while, Boxwood's echo-laden vocals paint haunting vistas before the expansive canvases he lays down.
Trying to describe it, it almost sounds like it should be utter discord--and perhaps it well should. But it isn't. Instead, it's a carefully orchestrated juggling act, wherein Boxwood managed to let his creative curiosities run free, but still show enough restraint to keep everything in perfect balance.
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And his creativity didn't end with the content in the album. He put it on the album as well. Right on the CD packaging, each of which is hand-made out of old vinyl records.
Sun Garden City proves a deft effort for sister paper Miami New Times' 2010 Best Of Miami winner for Best Songwriter, and a highly evolved followup to his impressive 2006 debut The Secret Life of Rocks. And the album is available for free download at Pollen Records' website.
Boxwood performs at County Grind Live Music, hosted by New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Gallery Saturdays. 8 p.m. Saturday, January 14, at Green Room, 109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $5; 21 and up. Click here.