Published Jun 01, 2011Though previously known as half of Seattle-based folk duo Arthur & Yu, Grant Olsen is branching out with a new project called Gold Leaves. His long-incubating solo debut, The Ornament, has been tinkered and toyed with over the years, with Olsen contemplating at times whether to make the record a full-on country affair, or whether to run wild with an R&B influence. As it stands, The Ornament is a bit of a melting pot.
A press release for the album, which sees release August 16 on Hardly Art, explains that Olsen had to dig deep to get to these songs. The initial batch of tracks he whipped up -- from four years ago -- were lost when Olsen's laptop was nicked. But he considered the theft a sign from above.
"I kept scrapping music because I wanted to make some kind of grand statement," Olsen said in the press release. "When I opened myself up to just trying to make a record that still had meaning, but was less grandiose in the overall scheme of things, I started being a lot more productive."
The Ornament proves to be a diverse collection, from the "roller rink organ and rumbling timpani" of the '60s pop-influenced title track (which you can download here), to the "rising strings and keyboards of the dramatic finale 'Futures.'" Just as the songs jump from style to style, the record was crafted in a transitional period for Olsen, who got married, travelled around the world and dealt with the loss of a loved one by the time he wrapped up recording sessions.
"Just as foliage buds, changes colour, and eventually falls from the branches every season, so too do themes of birth, death, and regeneration permeate The Ornament," the press release states. Check out the tracklisting below.
1. "The Silver Lining"
2. "The Ornament"
3. "Endless Dope"
4. "Hanging Window"
5. "Cruel & Kind"
7. "Hard Feelings"
8. "The Companion"