Between the personal warmth of songwriting tradition and the whirling ecstatics of festival culture, Michael Garfield is making music for which new words must be invented – vocally athletic percussive future-folk and improvised instrumental electronica, a marriage of charismatic stage presence and dazzling avant-garde technique that combines polyphonic fretboard tapping with a fifty-pound pedalboard of filters, delays, and multi-channel loopers.
Singing and playing while twisting knobs and DJ’ing live samples with his toes, Michael’s performances are an embodiment of his training as an evolutionary biologist and cyberdelic poet-philosopher – liberating the organic into the digital, and the idioms of Americana into a new species of transcendental trance.
Michael has opened for a dizzying array of artists, including Papadosio, The Nadis Warriors, Whitewater Ramble, Spoonfed Tribe, Lunar Fire, The Floozies, Delta Nove, & Zuvuya; electronic producers Random Rab, Rena Jones, Sidecar Tommy of Beats Antique, Heyoka, Ana Sia, Jamie Janover, Skytree, & D.V.S*; singer-songwriters Willy Porter, Stuart Davis, & Cohen; and virtuoso instrumentalists Tim Reynolds, Andreas Kapsalis Trio, Zach Deputy, Cecil “P’Nut” Daniels, That 1 Guy, & Dixon’s Violin.
His distinctive sound has garnered him invitations to jam onstage with with an equally eclectic mix, including Fareed Haque, Entheogenic, Bird of Prey, Soulacybin, Erothyme, Futexture, and Cualli – and won the hearts of festivalgoers at Wakarusa, Rootwire, Sonic Bloom, Gratifly, Art Outside, AURA, The Manifestation Celebration, Firefly, Head For The Hills, Desert Rocks, McDowell Mountain, Om Vibrations, Dreamtime, Unitus, Alloveus, Motion Notion (Canada), Geoparadise (Costa Rica), the MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference, and Burning Man’s Entheon & Fractal Planet Villages.
His music has been featured in the award-winning PBS (KLRU) documentary series Arts in Context, as well as on KRFC FM’s Live at Lunch, Erik Davis’ Expanding Minds, and Notes From The Psychedelic Salon. Passionate about interdisciplinary collaboration, Michael has made a habit of co-improvisational performances with non-musicians, including dance/animation duo ARTheism, the Rootwire Festival Live Art Team, and Burning Man’s Aerial Fabric Showcase. In 2013 he launched an entirely new performance modality – Looper’s Night – which remixes live input from professional and amateur musicians alike in richly textured improvisational groove-scapes that destroy the boundary between artist and audience.
Ceaselessly experimental and technically complex, Michael’s music remains firmly rooted in soulful personal warmth, bridging the gap between visionary grandeur and vulnerable humanity.
At Gratifly Festival 2013, Michael made history as the first musician to stream point-of-view video from Google Glass through a projector on stage, letting the audience see through his eyes…
“Welcome to the future…Michael is a pioneer exploring the edge realms where the electric and old world meet.”
– Matt Bovard for LostInSound
“It takes creativity to make the next step in a newer, more shocking direction, but it takes a visionary to go beyond the breaking point and meet music on the other end of the spectrum. That’s what Michael Garfield does.”
– Evan Townsend for TheUntz