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Daughn Gibson of Carlisle, PA is a singer, songwriter and musician possessed of a singular and strange vision. Carnation, his third album, is the latest exhilarating and dark embodiment of that vision. It’s an album that’s more elegant and sophisticated than anything he’s done to date, and which sees the elements of country music, more prominent on 2012’s All Hell on the White Denim label and 2013’s Me Moan on Sub Pop, undone to extraordinary effect by ambient textures and sounds.
Shot through with a deep sensuality, Carnation is a high-wire balancing act, at times sexual, emotionally intense and comforting. The album features Daughn’s strongest songwriting yet, with lyrical subject matter that shares a kinship with writers Raymond Carver and Donald Ray Pollack. The music here combines with those lyrics to widescreen effect, and Carnation feels filmic in its execution: It evokes, and in many ways pays homage to, the works of Tim Burton, Pier Paulo Pasolini, and John Waters. Carnation’s most pervasive theme might best be described as the chaos of circumstance. The album’s 11 tracks tell related stories of near-death experiences, mental-health struggles, psychosexual turmoil, and everyday dread.
Carnation was co-produced and recorded by Daughn Gibson and Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Jesse Sykes, Tim Hecker). Dunn’s knack for textured mixes and sense of pagan weight collide with Gibson’s underlying pop sensibilities. The two also enlisted the talents of composer/violinist to Eyvind Kang on string arrangements, renowned studio drummer Matt Chamberlain, as well as Daughn’s long-standing musical conspirator, Jim Elkington. Additional contributions include: Steve Moore (Piano, Trombone, Keyboards and Synths); Milky Burgess, Paul Wegman, and Jer Rouse (Guitars); Skerik (Saxophone); and Jay Kardong (Pedal Steel). Carnation was recorded at Avast Studios in Seattle, Washington and mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering.